The Ugandan government through its Education Ministry has resolved to mainstream Open and Distance e-Learning (ODeL) also known as e-learning in all universities across the country.
Education and Sports Minister, Janet Kataaha Museveni said this 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”.
She said; “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.
“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.
“ODeL increases enrolment 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”.
Also, according to NCHE Executive Director, Prof. Mary Okwakol, institutions of higher learning and universities ought to apply for accreditation for programs they want to teach remotely.
“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 both in writing and in various forms.”
She insisted that institutions ought to have developed 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.”