By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The Ugandan government through the Education Ministry and sports is set on implementing Open and Distance e-Learning(ODeL) also known as e-learning at all universities in the country.
This was confirmed by Education and Sports Minister, Janet Kataaha Museveni while speaking during the opening of the fourth annual higher education conference at Hotel Africana in Kampala under the theme “Enhancement of teaching, learning and assessment with Open and Distance e-Learning (ODeL) in higher education”
“Through the education and sport sector strategic plan 2021-2024/25, the ministry intends to strengthen ODEL by having it mainstreamed in all institutions of higher learning as well as the strategies that will ensure increased access to higher education,” Minister, Janet Kataaha said.
“We want to take learning to people instead of bringing people to learning. We want to emphasize the need to make learning accessible to where people are,” she added.
According to Janet Museveni, it is high time e-learning is mainstreamed and so much focus is put on it due to its enormous advantages.
“ODeL increases enrollment of eligible learners increases the teacher-learner ratio and provides solutions to the emergencies in the education sector. It is flexible in terms of time and distance. It is not discriminative in terms of age, gender, religion or physical ability,” she said.
Meanwhile, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Executive Director, Prof. Mary Okwakol noted that institutions of higher learning need to apply for accreditation for programs they want to teach remotely.
“Since we issued minimum standards(for e-learning) in August 2019, we expect that all institutions that wish to continue with Open Distance e-Learning (ODeL) to have developed programs which they should submit to National Council for Higher Education to accredit. Post-Covid, programs that are not accredited to use the ODeL approach will not be accepted. This means the emergency guidelines for ODeL will not apply post covid. We have communicated this position to institutions,” Prof. Okwakol said.
She further noted that universities need to develop programs that are specifically meant to be implemented using ODeL and submit them for accreditation or else the guidelines will cease to apply.
According to Prof. Okwakol, out of the 250 institutions regulated by NCHE, only 48(19.2%) have fulfilled requirements and were approved to implement the Open Distance e-Learning system.
“As we roll out ODeL, the NCHE remains committed to academic integrity, quality and standards which are non-negotiable and without which we will deliver inadequate knowledge and skills and yet these are critical in contributing to the development and solving the socio-economic and health challenges that are ever increasing,“ she noted.