The 6th African Council for Distance Education (ACDE) conference ended successfully with a call to stakeholders within the education space to consider the enormous potential of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in changing the face of pedagogy in Africa.
The two-day virtual conference touched on almost all the teething challenges facing education in Africa and how these challenges can be tackled.
Organisers assembled a diverse pool of distinguished speakers and participants to reflect the theme of this year’s conference, dubbed, “Open and Distance Learning Amidst COVID-19: the Continental Strategy for Africa (CESA) and the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4).
Present at the conference were Dr. Teresa Mwona, the Executive Director of ACDE; Prof Jonathan Mba, Director of Research at the Association of African Universities (AAU); Prof Peter Okebukula, Chairman of the Council, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and Prof Mohammed Salifu, Director General – Ghana Education Commission.
In its sixth year, ADCE has cultivated and a nurtured a pool of partner institutions who have shown tremendous admiration to the Council, its leadership and initiatives. ACDE has enjoyed enormous support from these institutions in collaborative learning, case sharing and problem solving
The two day even had representation from H.E Peter Kwasi Kodjie, Secretary General, All-Africa Students Union (AASU); Professor Asha S. Kanwar, President and Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth of Learning; Prof. Prof. Etienne Ehouan Ehile, Secretary-General Association of African Universities, (AAU) and Prof. Paul Wainaina, ACDE Secretary-General & Vice-Chancellor Kenyatta University. The rest are H.E. Sarah Anyang Agbor, African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science & Technology; Prof. Moeketsi Letseka, UNESCO Chair on Open Distance Learning UNESCO; Prof. Boubakar Barry, African Research and Education Network (AFREN) and, Mr. Tao Zhan, Director UNESCO IITE.
The Minister of Education of Ghana, Dr. Yaw Adutwum presented the compliments of the Government of Ghana to the Council and assured the conference that Ghana is in the process of hybridizing education to reflect the new pedagogical shifts occurring across the education landscape.
Scholars and researchers also presented papers on differing issues on higher education, qualifications, open and distance learning and other related areas. The Council in recognizing the importance of research to the growth of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) awarded some individuals and groups for the best conference paper presented.
In a welcome address delivered by Prof Goski Alabi, President of ACDE, she intimated the need to consider distance and open learning as a viable complement to contact learning in a post-COVID era. Her rallying address was important, considering the awful disruption that the COVID-19 has dealt to teaching and learning not only in Africa, but globally.
In addressing the conference, the guest honour, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria H.E Olusegun Matthew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo, hailed the consistency of ACDE in promoting open and distance learning in Africa. H.E Obasanjo paid glowing compliments to all the stakeholders who are adding their shoulder to the wheel in working towards the design of other alternative educational frameworks.
The Council conferred a distinguished service award on H.E Olusegun Matthew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo for his works in promoting open education and distance learning in Africa. The University of South Africa (UNISA) was also awarded for being a reputable, comprehensive, flexible and accessible open distance learning institution that is motivating a generation towards a vision of shaping futures in the service of humanity that can solve Africa’s educational and developmental problems enormous support from these institutions in collaborative learning, case sharing and problem solving.