African higher-education leaps into the 22nd century with the launch of a 10-Country Distance Learning Facility
Nairobi, 1st July 2010 – In a move designed to provide African students with greater access to higher-education opportunities, the African Virtual University (AVU) in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) will launch an Open Distance and eLearning Centres (ODeL) at the University of Nairobi’s College of Education and External Studies, Kikuyu Campus on 2nd July 2010. The centre is among nine others deployed across Africa . To date, seven eLearning centres have been launched at the University of Zambia , University of Zimbabwe , Jimma University in Ethiopia , Kyambogo University in Uganda , Open University of Tanzania, Universidade Pedagogica in Mozambique and Universite Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal . Dr. Bakary Diallo , the Rector of the AVU, will participate in the launch ceremony along with officials from the University of Nairobi , the Kenyan government, AfDB representatives and partner organisations.
The move will enable more universities to mainstream eLearning into their existing curricula, create a community of peers that will generate original research on eLearning methodologies and it will also help universities generate a long-term and sustainable revenue base.
“This initiative is driven by our desire to see Africa develop to a level where its citizens can compete with anyone in the world. The talent has always been here. The role of the AVU is to ensure that people have access to the education that they will need to advance themselves and the continent” noted Dr. Bakary Diallo, the AVU Rector.
The new ODeL centres will add to the AVU network that now has over 50 eLearning Centres. The centres are set up within the framework of the AVU Multinational Project funded by the AfDB. The main purpose of the ODeL Centre at the University of Nairobi is to act as a physical hub for the creation, organization and sharing of knowledge and the development of ODeL Programs. Additionally, the centre will serve as: a training facility for staff in the use of ICT in the development, delivery and management of Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODeL); a delivery point for the current and future ODeL programs (e.g. the Teacher Education Program); the physical location where staff are able to conduct research and participate in collaborative work in ODeL; and guarantee long-term sustainability by enabling the university to generate revenue.
This initiative marks another milestone for the AVU, which was originally established to address the digital divide by helping Africa overcome geographic, technological, political and financial obstacles that often hindered students’ access to higher-education. Since it’s inception in 1997, AVU has pioneered an innovative learning platform, the AVU Learning Architecture designed specifically to adapt eLearning to the unique African context. In the last decade, AVU has also established the largest network of Open Distance and eLearning institutions in Sub Saharan Africa in over 30 countries.
Founded in 1997, the African Virtual University (AVU) is a Pan African Intergovernmental Organization whose aim is to significantly increase access to quality higher education and training through the innovative use of Information and Communications Technologies.
The AVU has graduated 40,000 students across Africa and established the largest network of Open Distance and eLearning institutions in over 30 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its greatest asset is its ability to work across borders and languages in Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone Africa.
In 2009, the AVU trained 133 staff from 24 universities in 17 countries to use eLearning methods in their curricula and in managing distance learning programs. AVU also advocates for women’s education and students living in conflict and post-conflict zones. In Somalia , AVU has graduated 4,000 students, 30% of whom are women.
The AVU is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with a regional office in Dakar, Senegal.
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