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18 universities join the African Virtual University

28 August 2014, 10:36 Mike Munga

Nairobi - Eighteen African Universities on Wednesday joined the African Virtual University (AVU) in developing a Bachelor program in Applied Computer Sciences, with Kenya's Kenyatta and Egerton universities being among the beneficiaries.

The program is set to strengthen the capacity of the universities so they can introduce open, distance and eLearning into their existing curricula.

It will also deliver and manage quality ICT integrated education and training opportunities that will generate original research on eLearning methodologies as well as helping universities to generate a long-term and sustainable revenue base in the African countries.

The project will be enacted over the next seven months and will see the establishment of new open, distance and e-Learning centres and upgrading of existing AVU learning centres as well as internet provision at AVU partner institutions, a move designed to provide African learners with greater access to higher education opportunities.

Participants from 17 countries are attending the content development workshop whose main objective is to train the authors and start writing the content.

The program will be available in English, French and Portuguese and delivered online and face-to-face by the participating universities.

Dr. Bakary Diallo, Rector of the AVU said their aim is to try and boost access to quality higher education through innovative ways. He said that many students in African schools sit idle after completing their O-level studies for almost a year before joining universities but the e-learning will make the process easier.

"The future of e-learning is in the hands of the government, policymakers, universities and industries. This initiative is driven by our desire to prepare the African learners and professionals to better contribute to the economy,” he said.

He however said that they are facing power challenges as the online learning needs uninterrupted power supply in order to work efficiently.

He also noted that there is no enough facilities to cater for the online programme but they are putting up measures to provide the required facilities in place.

Diallo said they are giving out scholarships to support female students so that they can learn computer science courses in a bid to sort the gender imbalance being experienced currently.

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