Distance Learning for Adults: Radio ECCA Project for Socioeconomic Development
Country Profile: Cape Verde
519,000 (2006 estimate)
|Internet Users per 1000 Inhabitants|
|Households Possessing a Radio Receiver|
|Access to Primary Education – Total Net Intake Rate (NIR)|
|Total Youth Literacy Rate (15–24 years)|
|Adult Literacy Rate (15 years and over, 1995-2004)|
|Programme Title||Distance Learning for Adults: Radio ECCA Project for Socio-Economic Development (Cape Verde)|
|Language of Instruction||Portuguese|
|Programme Partners||Government of Cape Verde|
Spanish Agency for International Cooperation
Regional Government of the Canary Islands
|Date of Inception||2002|
Context and Background
Cape Verde is an archipelago consisting of ten islands. Although primary education is mandatory for children between 6 and 14 years and free for those between 6 and 12 years, access to education is still a major challenge for most people due to poverty and low educational investment, including investment in manpower and school development. Adult distance learning and the use of information and communication technologies in learning is therefore regarded as a vital means of increasing people's access to education. Distance education is also officially recognised by law as a means of reducing geographical/regional disparities and promoting equality of opportunities in education and training for all young people and adults as well as a vehicle for promoting national development. The Law of Foundations of the Education System of Cape Verde establishes “Distance Education” as a special modality of education, which “shall complement recurrent and continuing education”. The law also stipulates that learning achievements gained through distance education should be recognised as equivalent to those gained through the formal education system.
The experimental/pilot phase of the distance learning programme for youth and adults based on the Adult Distance Learning (ECCA System) began in 1999 with financial and technical support from the Government of Cape Verde, the Regional Government of the Canary Islands and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation. Since then, the programme has evolved and expanded in different phases. Between 2002 and 2005, the “Adult Distance Learning (ECCA System) for the Economic Development of Cape Verde” project was launched and implemented. This was followed by the launch of the educational radio service programme in 2003, which is still operational (see: http://www.radioecca.org/).
In addition, the current phase (2006-2011) of the adult distance education programme is being implemented. The principal goal of the Adult Distance Learning programme (ECCA System) is to support the National Programme of Adult Education and Training, which combines distance education with adult basic education, secondary education, and vocational education and training, as well as community learning for development.
The current programme (2006-2011), Training for the Design and Implementation of an Integrated Adult Distance Learning and Training System (ECCA System) for the Economic Development of Cape Verde and Related Curricular Design is an expanded follow-up of the 2002-2005 version. The programme is intended to enable all out-of-school youth and adults to access education, regardless of their literacy skills or levels of formal education and economic status.
The general goal of the programme is to set up a national training system for out-of-school youths and adults that is based on distance learning and uses radio communication and other ICTs as a means of learning. At the same time, curriculum and learning materials should be designed in order to improve the current face-to-face teaching system. Therefore, the specific objectives of the programme are to:
design a new national curriculum of distance learning and related learning materials for learners at different literacy levels and/or stages of educational training;
train Cape Verdean professionals in both the development of curricular design and in the development, design, reproduction and recording of teaching materials;
develop training activities with the ECCA Distance Learning Radio System to ensure equal opportunities in terms of access to education and to the world of work; and
adopt the ECCA Distance Learning System, thereby providing the Directorate of Literacy and Adult Education (DGAEA) with an educational radio service and related equipment designed to improve the quality and outreach of the educational radio station network, increase Internet radio broadcasting and enable access to suitable computer equipment.
Approaches and Methodologies
Training of Professionals in the Distance Learning System
Members of the Ministry of Education’s technical staff are being given intensive training in the use of the ECCA Distance Learning System in order to enable them to perform the different functions and tasks related to its implementation. One of the tasks is the development of an Integral System of Adult Education and Training, based on a renewed and expanded vision of education and training. It is an integral, plural, open and flexible system intended to train youth, adults and their communities. It recognises the prior learning and life experiences that adults have already gained and sees the training of adults as a competency-based process of lifelong learning. It lays the foundations for a national system of recognition, validation and certification for the competencies that adults have acquired through formal, non-formal and informal channels.
A first version of a competency-based and modular Curricular Design for Adult Education and Training is being prepared. Instead of individual subjects, the curriculum focuses on four main areas (communication, knowledge, citizenship and employment) in order to develop four key competencies, 22 skills and 180 items for evaluation. Most of the thematic areas support the development of the tourist industry and some are related to food, languages (English, Spanish and French), sales and customer services, receptionist duties, leisure and entertainment, tourist guide activities, environmental education, community development and computer programmes, among others. The innovative feature of this new curricular design is the inclusion of distance learning; a methodology which strengthens the activities carried out so far by the DGAEA.
A further project activity consists of conducting a technical study for the creation of a nation-wide educational radio service to provide equipment to radio studios. In addition, there are plans to install seven radio stations and distribute computers with Internet access to nine adult education and training centres during the “embryonic” stage of the digital literacy project. Furthermore, the DGAEA will be equipped with printing facilities to enable support materials to be produced autonomously. A telecommunications centre will be installed to improve internal and external communication. A webpage and a virtual collaborative environment will help learners and facilitators communicate and exchange information. The project is aimed at transferring the ECCA Adult Distance Learning System technologies to the DGAEA in order to help it implement the national adult education and training system.
Methods of Distance Learning and Teaching
The ECCA Distance Learning System is based on the synchronised use of three elements: print materials, radio classes and orientation tutorials:
The print materials comprise all the information required to follow the course. These include questionnaires, charts, exercises and evaluations which accompany, complement and build on the contents of the radio classes. Additional support materials include video, audio, and CD-ROM materials.
Each radio class includes a precise and active explanation of the content of the print materials which the learners complete following the instructions given to them by the educator. Each class usually lasts 30 minutes and provides information on the topic of the day.
The orientation tutorials complement the print materials and radio classes and are intended to facilitate contact between learners and educators. This contact can be set up face-to-face or from a distance (by telephone or via a telematic system) and enables system-related feedback to be generated.
Programme Impact and Achievements
To date, 25 courses have been developed and more than 20,000 certificates have been issued to youths and adults who have been empowered to enter the job market as semi-professionals.
Distance education based on the use of new ICTs expands learners' opportunities for work-based, advanced vocational training.
Innovative pedagogical approaches allow for learning experiences which are tailored to participants’ characteristics, learning needs and specific vocational activities.
Distance learning based on ICTs constitutes an ideal solution for Cape Verde which – due to its geographic situation and state of economic development – is on its way to becoming a “knowledge society”. The education system is under great pressure to provide quality education and training based on new technologies that are tailored to meet the challenges of socio-economic development with a particular emphasis on the tourist industry.
Distance learning based on ICTs will be more successful if it is implemented as a national education and training system in the context of a favourable education policy.
The ICTs must be viable and adapted to the needs of the country and the context in order to provide sustainable solutions that are able to support the achievement of both national education targets and the UN Millennium Development Goals.
The educational radio system is better adapted to the context of African countries. This is proven by the results of experiences with the ECCA System in the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Morocco and Mauritania.
Florenço Mendes Varela
Director Geral de Alfabetização e Educação de Adultos
Rua Pedagogo Paulo Freire, nº 1
Achada Santo António
Email: User: fmendes50
Host: (at) hotmail.com
Last update: 8 December 2009