Neil David Loftus Butcher

Neil Butcher is based in South Africa, from where he has provided policy and technical advice and support to a range of national and international clients regarding educational planning, uses of educational technology and distance education, both as a full-time employee at the South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE) from 1993 to 2001 and as Director of Neil Butcher & Associates. He has worked with various educational institutions, assisting with transformation efforts that focus on effectively harnessing the potential of distance education methods, educational technology, and OER. Neil has travelled extensively through the world conducting research on higher education, distance education, and educational technology for a range of organizations, governments, and donors. He is currently working with SAIDE on its OER Africa Initiative, which is funded by the Hewlett Foundation and is managing the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa’s Educational Technology Initiative.

Tony Mays

Tony Mays is a Programme Specialist with the South African Institute for Distance Education ( ). He has been President (2000-2002, 2008-2010) of the National Association for Distance Education and Open learning in South Africa (see and in that capacity chaired the organising committee for the 2nd Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning held at the ICC Durban (see ). He works/has worked with a number of higher education institutions in the areas of strategic planning, systems review, operational coordination, ODL policy and practice, quality assurance and evaluation, curriculum design, open education resources and the management of teaching practice within South Africa (e.g. Department of Education, Promat Colleges, University of South Africa, University of Pretoria, former Technikon Southern Africa, Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Witwatersrand) as well as more widely in the sub-Saharan Africa region (having completed assignments in Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Swaziland and Zambia). He has published/co-published textbooks for K12 Language and Literature and Teacher Education and presented papers and published journal articles on ODL policy, practice and costing as well as ODL for teacher education. He was the lead researcher for several publications for the Distance Education and Open Learning Desk of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (see Tony holds a BAHons (Wales), PGCE (Westminster College, Oxford), BEdHons (Natal), MEd (Unisa).

Catherine Ngugi

Catherine Ngugi is the Project Director of OER Africa, a Saide Initiative. Prior to holding this post, she established the African Virtual University’s Research & Innovation Facility (RIF) in January 2005 and managed it until September 2007. During this period, the RIF hosted two OER projects and launched a Pan-African pilot study on the use of OER in African universities. Catherine holds an MA from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Catherine began her career in the private sector, working for a multinational manufacturer. In 1997, she relocated to Dakar, Senegal to work with CODESRIA (the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa), where she initiated and coordinated a grants management system and designed the CODESRIA Endowment Plan. Upon joining Oxfam GB, she conducted regional training sessions (Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania) in project sustainability across the organization’s regional group and facilitated the funding by SIDA (Swedish International Donor Agency) of the Oxfam GB West Africa Regional Girls Education Program.

A Rockefeller Associate of the African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town, Catherine has worked as a consultant in higher education and the Arts to various international organizations headquartered in Nairobi. Her work has been published in Kwani and in the Journal of African Cultural Studies. She has also co-edited various publications including the eight country report on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Higher Education in Africa commissioned by the Centre for Educational Technology (CET) for the Educational Technology Initiative of the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) and contributed to Distance Education.

Monge Tlaka

Monge Tlaka is based in South Africa and has a background in IT, database and website project management as well as providing technical advice and support to a range of institutions regarding uses of educational technology. She began her career as a full-time employee at the South African Institute for Distance Education (Saide) from 1996 to 2002 and is now the IT and Systems project manager for Neil Butcher and Associates (NBA) and Systems and Website Manager for OER Africa.

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