A distance and e-learning centre was last week launched at University of Rwanda's College of Science and Technology to provide learners with greater access to higher education opportunities.
The initiative is a collaborative effort between the African Virtual University (AVU) and the African Development Bank. It is among 27 open distance and e-learning centres (ODeL) that are being launched over the coming months in 21 African countries, including Rwanda.
The 21 beneficiary countries include nine francophone African countries, three Lusophone African countries and nine Anglophone African countries.
Dr Bakary Diallo, the rector of the AVU, said the expansion will strengthen the capacity of more universities to mainstream distance and e-learning into their existing curricula by creating communities of peers that will generate original research on e-learning methodologies, and will also help universities generate sustainable revenue.
"This initiative is driven by our desire to prepare the African learners and professionals to better contribute to the socio-economic development of the continent. AVU's role is to ensure that people have access to the 21st century skills that they need to advance themselves and the continent," he noted.
UR's vice-chancellor Prof. Philip Cotton said open distance and e-learning centres are the future of development for young Africans.
Dr Matthias Nduwingoma, a lecturer at UR's College of Education, said this collaborative effort was initiated by the World Bank in 1970 to tackle challenges that faced quality education, through ICT.
"The new system will add value to the current distance training programme that has been running at UR's College of Education. The new mode of delivery will enable lecturers to share notes easily and it will contribute to reducing fees and widen the scope for many students," Nduwingoma added.
African Virtual University is a pan-African intergovernmental organisation mandated to increase access to quality higher education and training through innovative use of information and communication technologies