AfDB, AVU host meeting to discuss future of e-learning in Africa

Students in a group discussion: AVU's ICT-enhanced curriculum structures for Teacher Education Program in Maths and Sciences have been shared with the universities for review after which the specific ICT-enhanced modules authoring will begin.
Students in a group discussion: AVU’s ICT-enhanced curriculum structures for Teacher Education Program in Maths and Sciences have been shared with the universities for review after which the specific ICT-enhanced modules authoring will begin.

The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has concluded a meeting it co-hosted with the African Virtual University (AVU) under the topic “Integrating eLearning and Open Education to Increase Access to Quality Education and Training” from November 20 – 22, 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The conference – attended by more than 100 participants including representatives from Ministries of Education and 22 universities from the Multinational AVU support projects and the private sector – was held to discuss the future of e-learning in Africa and the role of Open Education Resources (OERs) including the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in the ICT learning revolution.

Said Ruth Charo, Principal Social Development Specialist, AfDB EARC. “OERs, including MOOCS, have the potential to enhance access to quality education. However, certification and accreditation for the OERs has to be looked into. In all countries, especially in Africa, certification as an evidence of one having acquired training is almost mandatory. Networking and partnerships among institutions in Africa and the West will be critical to achieve this.”

AVU’s multinational support projects are found in  universities in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan and Tanzania.

In addition to OERs and MOOCs, discussion also centered on ICT infrastructure including access to e-learning and mobile learning; accreditation and quality assurance in e-learning; management of e-learning; and gender aspects in e-learning.

“We consider the African Virtual University (AVU) Project very critical to the effort to improve access to higher education in Africa and are pleased to learn that the deliberations on the integration of e-learning and open education into mainstream education programs was fruitful,” said Stefan Muller, Lead Economist of AfDB’s East Africa Regional Resource Center (EARC).

The meeting was follow-up to the launch of the AfDB-funded AVU Capacity Enhancement Program (ACEP) training programme launched on November 18, 2013 to equip AVU’s partner institutions with e-learning skills in areas such as ICT instructional processes, technology support and management of e-learning. AVU is also considering the delivery of the ACEP program on MOOCs.