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Page 1 Rachel Parsons OMDE 601 Section 9042 October 26, 2013 Distance Education in Central Africa and


Distance education has allowed geographically challenged students to attend college, this is not contained to America, central Africa and China, have developed their own forms of distance education. The African Virtual University and the Open University of China, each serving its citizens in a distance and e-learning platform. Both with the goal of educating its citizen that qualified for tertiary education. In 1997, a World Bank project established the African Open University. An intergovernmental university, encompassing eighteen countries. The Universities mission to facilitate the use of effective open, distance and e-learning in African Institutions of tertiary education ("African virtual university," 2012. African Virtual University is an open university that is presented online with learning stations throughout central Africa. The African Virtual University was launched as a World Bank project in 1997. Headquarters are now in Nairobi. Its goal is to increase access to higher education through use of information communication technology ("African virtual university," 2012). It does this by offering a range of classroom formats; online, hybrid and traditional classes. A board of directors oversee the university its finances and its progress. The university offers an online platform that allows students to view live online presentations, text chat, personal web pages and 24 hour access to online services. The university has a focus on gender mainstreaming aimed at increasing the presence of women in the sciences. It provides joint

Page 2 degree programs with other African universities, and is a member of a school consortium, allowing a wider range of instructors and students. Currently, according to their website, the served population is 47,000 students ("African virtual university," 2012). This small number maybe due to the geographically vast area that they are serving and the lack of internet infrastructure. The affordability of e-learning led to the development of local institutions to help with traditional classes and tutoring. The Open University of China is run and overseen by the Ministry of Education (MOE). A university cannot exists without the approval of the ministry of education. It is built upon what was Chinas Radio and TV University System. Universities must be cleared by the MOE before opening and are dictated what degrees they can and cannot offer. Leaving very little anonymity. It functions by the core values of openness, responsibility, quality, diversity and internationalization. The OUC is only authorized to offer associate and bachelor degrees. It seeks to fill the need for higher education in the rural areas of China and promote education equality ("Open university of," 2009). The Open University of China, once the China Radio and Television Universities, was initiate by Chairman Deng Xiaoping in 1978(Zhao, 2006). The Open University system contains one approved central open university, 44 private universities, 1000 municipal radio and TV universities, 2000 county level universities, and 60,000 tutorial centers. These are meant to meet the needs of rural learners and non-commissioned officers opening up education to a broader audience. The OUC has developed a three tier interactive platform combining broadcasting, satellite and internet, ("Open university of," 2009). This supports a learner centered classroom and a one stop learning experience. The university uses a cloud classroom, cloud opad, cloud mobile phone, cloud TV and cloud desktop. The university has also created a credit Bank where academic credits can be used as a form of currency.

Page 3 It is a new way of completing a degree or certification through a self-taught process. In May of 2006 the OUC extend to North America by establish the Confucius Institute at Michigan State University (CI-MSU). The university offers online Chinese course targeted at high school students, opening tertiary education to high school student. The partnership calls for the us side to provide operations and marketing while the Chinese side is the factory side establishing courseware research and development, human resources, distance learning and multi-media. It offers classes like Chinese as a foreign language, language and culture, global citizenship. Provides on online textbooks, appreciation material and teacher seminars. These allow a cross culture and cross educational sharing of ideas. The OUC was developed to answer a call for more educational options in china, but is held tightly and overseen by the ministry of education. Chinas infrastructure does not lend itself to internet learning. The country is large and most internet access is done in internet cafs with dial-up modems. In china online learning in looked down on. Due to registered permanent resides program citizen must be educated where they are registered. When an individual moves to attend a traditional college they are permitted to change their residence for the duration of schooling (Zhao, 2006). This is often seen as a step up socially. Online education cannot provide this benefit as it does not require a physical relocation. It is perceived that the quality of education is not as high, traditional universities do not feel online classes are part of their main stream but a separate entity. Often because of this view the university relies on a third party to handle student information and record keeping, further encouraging the idea that online education is a lower quality education. In china, due to register resident issues you must be educated where are registered. This can be changed if they are attending on campus classes therefore a sign of success.

Page 4 This type of education started as an experiment ad has not been discontinued but has not been increased. Perhaps a sign that it is not as popular as thought to be in Chinas vast country of limited mobility and internet access. The African Virtual University is a dual mode university that supplies face to face, hybrid and online classes (Dzvimbo,ND). It is brokered by a board of directors not the government educational entity as OUC is allowing it more anonymity. It is hoped that the online education the university provides can be used to bridge the digital divide between north and South Africa (ppr), establishing it social responsibility. It also pushes for women in the sciences encouraging the African youth to reach for greater thugs. The OUC does not actively push for enrollment in online classes as they are still a social stigma attached. AVU is a consortium of universities, part of network that includes satellite locations with tutors and traditional classes. The OUC, though not a consortium does have satellite locations for tutoring. Both universities have similar infrastructure issues as neither has a concrete reliable internet infrastructure. The stigma attached to online learning in China is cultural. African does not seem to have this stigma and there for can successfully complete students. The OUC serves a larger population the countries populate exceeds that of central Africa. The OUC and the AVF have contributed to distance learning in their own communities by adding the option on online and distance learning to their respective countries. Though the digital infrastructure in these countries are less than desirable the universities continue to offer these programs. They have opened up education distance education to a new batch of students who in the past would not have had a tertiary education. The OUC has taken this a step further by reaching out to

Page 5 the University of Michigan and opening the Confucius Institute to expand Chinese culture language and learning. Distance education can be defined as education that takes place despite geographical separation. It constitutes the use of traditional mail correspondence and online learning. Distance education in both third world and development nations has made an appearance in their educational system. They seek educate its citizens by way of distance education and online learning. The development of satellite location to help with connectivity and tutoring is a testament to the push for student success.

Reference African virtual university. (2012). Retrieved from

Dzvimbo, K. P., & Kariuki, C.W. (n.d.). Quality assurance in the African Virtual University: A case study. Commonwealth of Learning (COL). Retrieved from

Open university of china. (2009). Retrieved from

Wang, T., & Crook, C. (2006, September). The experiment of tertiary online education in China: An overview. MoE/China & HEFCE/UK. Retrieved from Zhao, Y., Zhang, G., & Li, N. (2006, November/December). The life of "internet colleges": Policies, problems, and prospects of online higher education in China. EDUCAUSE Review, 41(6), 4859. Retrieved from