Is Distance Learning a Smarter Alternative to Develop Africa’s Education System?Posted: March 24, 2014
In Africa, there was a time when obtaining quality education was considered to be a challenge owing to a lot of reasons. Poor infrastructure, weak economy and ongoing political disturbances were three major reasons that deprived a lot of students from attaining their career goals. Things changed over time and plenty of technological developments gradually started bringing modifications in the education system.
ODel – A promise to Africa
The introduction of ODeL (Open, distance and e-learning) in Africa is one of those incredible innovations that has eliminated the chances of not only unemployment but also gross inequalities in Africa. Moreover, the emerging trends of higher education from the global viewpoint have actually stood responsible for realising the importance of initiating ODeL in Africa. The Massive Open Online Courses were another noteworthy contribution on behalf of the digital education providers that brought a new meaning to online learners living in remote corners.
The year was 2008 when MOOCs attained global recognition and even questioned the traditional procedures of obtaining education. Although the process of delivering courses through web was first initiated a couple of decades back, the consequences were actually realised and had a global impact in the 21st century only.
African post-secondary education standards in question
Despite the increasing popularity of studying courses online, many questions were raised:
– Will schools, colleges and universities in Africa will be able to afford the cost of introducing new learning technologies?
– Will post-secondary institutions be able to cope with the prevalent challenges?
– Are higher education institutions in the developed nations differ a lot in comparison to those located in the developing nations?
Well, experts say that it is not easy for institutions in the developing countries to cope with institutions in the developed ones. In Africa, for instance, what is important is the crucial need to enhance access to diverse opportunities, especially for students pursuing postsecondary education.
More developments are still to be made
Although African countries like Nigeria has made massive developments in digital education by bringing over 4 million internet users over a short time span, the rest of the nations need to gear up. However, it’s true that there have been recent developments in post-secondary education that has eliminated a lot of misconceptions in regard to distance learning and electronic learning.
Despite, this is not all that speaks about distance learning. Since Africa has been promised to enjoy the benefits of ODeL, some serious issues still need to be rectified as soon as possible. For instance:
- Assuring the quality of study materials
- Ensuring accreditation for online learners
- Checking credit transfers
- Making employers recognise the importance of awards
- Dealing issues in regard to cross-border provision
Well, reality says that distance learning has a lot of advantages. However, it’s also true that in order to realise the advantages associated with distance learning, necessary modifications must be made. Although a huge number of new age learners are now keen to learn online in Africa, they must also be promised considerable academic support by their respective online learning institutions. So, a quality check is extremely crucial which will only be able to solve societal crises and at the same time fulfil career objectives of individuals living in remote corners.
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