The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has collaborated with the University of Zambia to launch a pilot of its higher education model at a project design workshop on November 27, 2017 in Lusaka, Zambia.
The workshop took place at the university and focused on implementing high quality e-learning programmes and distance education.
COL works with Commonwealth institutions and governments to improve education systems and their capacity to develop beneficial programmes, including increasing access to higher education.
In a presentation at the `Organising for Change: How Can Higher Education Meet the Changing Needs of Employment’ conference in South Africa on November 14, 2017, Professor Romeela Mohee discussed the role distance and blended learning can play in higher education.
Mohee noted the current disconnect between higher education and the workplace, with regards to skills and disciplines, and the growing demand for a knowledge and skills base that leads to sustainable livelihoods.
Figures from 2013 showed youth unemployment at 75 million globally, covering 12% of total unemployment numbers.
Africa’s gross enrollment ratio (GER) in tertiary education is on average 9%, with many higher education institutions (HEI) not able to provide access to learning platforms and resources, particularly for students transitioning from secondary to tertiary education.
COL is working with HEIs to implement online distance learning courses (ODLs) to help bridge this gap.
They aim to increase student mobility across learning venues and platforms through credit transfer, technologies and third-party assessments, in order to improve educational accessibility, quality and affordability.
Technology in particular is being pushed to ensure a learner-centered approach with increased movement of service provision, independent study and flexibility of access and completion.
Business and management holds the biggest percentage of course distribution by subject at 16.8%, followed by Science at 11.3% and Social Sciences at 10.8%.
Of those participating in online-assisted courses, 84% reported some form of benefit to their career opportunities, 56% learned skills for their current job, and 38% believed they had improved their candidacy for a new job.
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