11.10.2017 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Capacity Building at the University of Rwanda to foster Distance Education and ELearning Growth

The University of Rwanda in cooperation with UNESCO and with the financial support of the UNESCO-Korean Funds-in–Trust (KFIT) initiative, organized a four-day fact finding technical consultation and needs assessment on the current University of Rwanda Moodle platform to develop a common, efficient, user-friendly and effective eLearning platform to enhance the University’s capacity to deliver courses through open and distance eLearning.

Rwanda is finalizing its National Open and Distance ELearning (ODeL) Policy with the mission to broaden access to educational opportunities by offering high quality, innovative, responsive and affordable educational programmes online. Current advantages in promoting ODeL in Rwanda include growing demand at all levels of education, and the establishment of a specialized School of Open and Distance Learning at the University of Rwanda’s College of Education. Yet, despite growing demand and institutional support, the University of Rwanda faces challenges to promote ODeL, including the lack of quality instructional teaching materials, qualified staff, and an adequate information technology infrastructure. Moreover, the persistent disparity between urban and rural citizens to access the Internet and online content presents additional challenges to broaden access.

Supporting the University of Rwanda to expand access to higher education using ODeL, UNESCO conducted four workshops to strengthen the university’s capacity to deliver online learning. In early 2017, 102 academic staff were trained to develop online courses using the Learning Management System, while an additional 26 staff were also trained in instructional design theory, principles and application to enhance the instructional effectiveness of ODeL formats.

This project recognizes that in addition to training academics, ODeL succeeds best where there are strong support systems made up of information technology professionals trained on the Learning Management System. The needs assessment carried out was conducted to assess the current capacity of information technology professionals and eLearning Officers in relation to the existing Learning Management System to design subsequent customized training activities and enhance responses to the changing environment and demands for online learning and ODeL. Nineteen E-Learning Officers and information technology professionals from the University of Rwanda central administration and its six Colleges attended the four-day meeting in Kigali, Rwanda. Officially opening the workshop, Mr Daniel Iyamuremye, Ag. Dean, School of Open and Distance Learning, expressed his gratitude to UNESCO for its support to achieve inclusive and equitable quality higher education and lifelong learning that are essential for the transformation of Rwanda into a knowledge-based society.

Also addressing participants, Mr Peter Wallet, UNESCO Programme Coordinator, highlighted that “UNESCO’s partnership with the University of Rwanda seeks to support its vital role in the implementation of Government’s ambitious policy framework including the 2016 National Open and Distance eLearning Policy, the 2016 ICT in Education Policy, and Government’s long term development strategy Vision 2020 that puts ICT at the centre of social and economic development”.

The main outcome of this assessment has been a deeper understanding of the current needs at the university regarding policies, roles, responsibilities, relevant stakeholders, and the current technical infrastructure related to the Moodle and ODeL initiatives. To guarantee best outcomes and progress towards fostering ODeL, efforts will be aligned to ensure that courses developed in the University of Rwanda’s Education Business Management Information System (EBMIS) can be readily adapted and imported into Moodle. The meeting will generate a report describing the situation, challenges and recommendations for the UR and an accompanying roadmap for the subsequent capacity building workshops with UR technical staff.

These activities are part of the ICT Transforming Education in Africa project (2016-2018), that intends to support the integration of ICT-based innovative approaches for education in Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. It is a developed within the framework of cooperation between UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Korea Funds-In-Trust initiative and was launched at the 2015 World Education Forum, in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The project is aligned with the Education 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 4 on Education, the Global Education First Initiative, and the Qingdao Declaration on ICT and Education.

 

For more information:

National Open and Distance eLearning Policy 

ICT in Education Policy 

 

Rwanda 2020 




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