Free online courses could be a path to higher education in African countries but awareness is low

Kenneth Palmer

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the largest regions in the earth and has the lowest premiums of participation in higher education and learning anyplace in the earth. The World Bank claimed in 2020 that only 9.4{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} of the region’s tertiary schooling age group is enrolled. The international regular ratio is 38{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db}.

Education and learning is a important catalyst of financial emancipation. Open and distance training was specifically built for this goal: to make higher education obtainable to all people, in all places. Since it is not constrained to 1 campus or bodily area, this strategy empowers college students to just take entire responsibility for their reports, to learn anyplace and at any time. Importantly, this happens with a larger schooling institution’s support and steering.

Just one of the programmes usually made available by these kinds of universities in other pieces of the entire world is the Large Open On the net Study course (MOOC). These are totally free, quickly obtainable and completely on the internet classes with no entry necessities. In some developing international locations outside Africa, these kinds of as the Philippines, Thailand and India, MOOCs are now currently being credited at the national level for entry into official college instruction. This raises entry to better schooling.

MOOCs are reasonably new in Africa they have grow to be a lot more prevalent in the past 5 or 10 years. On paper they are best for numerous African contexts. Egyptian schooling researcher Ghada Refaat El Said writes that MOOCs can successfully alleviate

overcrowded school rooms, higher charges of products and guides, commuting difficulty due to significant traffic, and a want for continued training and specialised instruction for the workforce.

But how accurately are MOOCs currently being utilized by African universities? Are any countries’ training methods efficiently employing MOOCs to widen increased education and learning access? To discover out, we analysed present peer-reviewed study posted involving 2013 and 2020.

We observed that not quite a few African international locations perceive MOOCs as instruments for boosting increased training access. The place these programs are available, they are generally supplementary or built merely to give college students extra tuition support. And there’s not significantly consciousness of MOOCs amongst college academics and learners, who then pass up out on this probable different route into increased education and learning.

What we uncovered

We searched the Sabinet, Scopus and Website of Science databases for papers by African authors about MOOCs. This developed 99 papers. Our analyze was based mostly on the 15 that ended up most relevant to our inclusion and exclusion criteria and that specially addressed African issues all-around MOOCs.

A crucial obtaining was that MOOCs are typically made use of as a self-discovering ingredient to help official skills in just African universities. In some situations, MOOCs entail facial area-to-facial area tuition and support for university learners. Even so, this apply allows only a minimal variety of learners to obtain bigger education and learning. For the most aspect, it caters only to people who are currently in the program.

The literature review also demonstrates that most people today from African nations around the world having these classes now possess some amount of better education. So, again, the current education entry divide is not tackled.

Some of the scientific studies we reviewed uncovered that several learners and teachers at large school degree didn’t even know what MOOCs have been simply because they experienced no access to electronic areas.

The literature suggests that a couple of nations in Africa – among the them Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa – feel to have at minimum acknowledged the position that MOOCs could possibly play in broadening greater instruction obtain. But this has not still been translated into national coverage.

Examples from in other places

We observed that MOOCs are currently getting applied as portion of mainstream credit score-bearing programs in some establishments in the Philippines, Thailand and India. That usually means finishing a MOOC can rely to access to a college degree. It allows make the diploma much more cost-effective.




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How on-line courses can bring the world into Africa’s classrooms


Yet another obtaining relevant to how MOOCs in some creating countries are currently being efficiently packaged with recognition of prior finding out programmes. This is a approach by means of which informal studying can, with demanding measurements and mediation, be qualified – as the South African Skills Authority describes it – “against the prerequisites for credit, entry, inclusion or development in the official instruction and coaching method, or workplace”.

It is very clear from these and other conclusions in our study that African governments, plan makers and education sectors could discover a fantastic offer from other producing nations around the world.

Heading ahead

Larger education establishments in African nations ought to initiate dialogue with governments and accreditation bodies on how MOOCs can be utilised innovatively to widen entry to increased education and learning.

Governments that aspire to widen entry to bigger instruction by means of MOOCs need to raise the awareness of every stakeholder, including university communities, educationists in larger education and learning, coverage makers and federal government stakeholders. It is an additional way to offer African students with excellent and related instruction.

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