EPFL and UM6P join efforts to transform digital education in Africa
To help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on tertiary education in Africa and prepare for ‘the new normal’, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) in Morocco and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland joined forces, under the “Excellence in Africa” initiative, to provide free digital educational resources and develop knowledge and skills in online pedagogy. Thus, addressing some of the key obstacles which professors are currently facing.
EPFL provided 38 existing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in STEM disciplines for African professors to integrate either as a whole or in part in one of their courses. UM6P also provided over 700 online resources, available in the platform prepadigitale.com, for professors in francophone institutions. All of these MOOCs and online educational modules were made available for free and will soon be enriched with additional resources.
Between the 13th of May and the 2nd of July 2020, over 1’000 participants (Vice Chancellors, Deputy Vice Chancellors, University Presidents, Professors and Lecturers) representing 34 institutions from a dozen of countries in Austral, East West Africa, were given relevant information and training.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Mohammed VI Polytechnic Universiry (UM6P) joined forces to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on tertiary education in Africa and prepare for ‘the new normal’. Under the ‘Excellence in Africa’ initiative, they provided free digital education resources and training in online pedagogy to university professors from 34 institutions based in 12 countries. This emergency-driven initiative is a precursor for the Digital Education pillar of Excellence in Africa.
As COVID-19 led to the sudden closure of university campuses across Africa, students’ lives and studies were disrupted on an unprecedented scale. While there is a general assumption that universities can easily teach their courses remotely, this is not the case for many universities in the region where online learning is still nascent.
A collaboration that holds the prospects of enhancing teaching and learning in this difficult period of COVID-19. We look forward to greater cooperation for the mutual benefit of our institutions, African continent & Humanity in general”, says Professor Sumeiman Bala Mohamed, Vice Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria
Looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis
This emergency-driven initiative provided a rapid and solid basis for African universities and their professors to explore and start to integrate digital learning into their teaching, as they prepare for the new reality of tertiary education in COVID-19 times.
“Excellence in Africa” initiative, through its Digital Education pillar, is looking to promote the sustainable integration of e-learning and digital technologies for Higher Education in Africa.
To this purpose, a call for expressions of interest is currently open, with a deadline for applications set for the 31st of July 2020.
This call will establish the first three (out of a total of six) institutional partnerships with renowned African universities in 2020, leading to the creation and development of a Centre of Competence in Digital Education (C-CoDE) at each partner university.