Friday, 6 October 2017

UoM eLearning Africa 2017 Participation

The University of Mauritius conducted a one-day pre-conference workshop on Wednesday 27th September on Interactive Materials Development using a version of the Rapid eLearning Method conceived by CILL. 32 participants were registered and 19 were present for the workshop. Participants came from a variety of countries over Africa including the US and Europe. Among the participants were a Pro-Chancellor of a University in Nigeria, CEOs of NGOs, academics of Universities and technical support staff from institutions in the African Education Sector. Dr Santally, Pro Vice-Chancellor participated in the Core Dialog session on Thursday 28th September on Foresights and Trends in Higher Education where he made a presentation alongside another speaker from UK. A summary of the session is as follows:
The traditional model of education has been disrupted by a variety of factors, including globalization, the Internet, budget cuts and increased competition from the private sector. What does the future hold in store for us? Using ‘foresight tools’, this session will examine a range of probable, possible and preferable futures. It will also discuss emerging technologies and new trends in eLearning, assessing their potential impact on African education.
The title of the talk was “Trends, Challenges and Scenarios for Higher Education Institutions: Case Study of the University of Mauritius”. That was a very rich session in insights and questions/comments from the attendees. He was also part of the panel discussion on “ICT in Higher Education and Research in Africa” and in another UNESCO panel titled “Follow-up to the 2nd World OER Congress: Moving OER into Policy and Action in the Indian Ocean Commission Members”. He made a presentation on research work undertaken at the University in OER. Specialists from UNESCO (Mr Joe Hironaka), and Prof Daniel Burgos, Deputy VC Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), Spain and Sophie Touze from the Open Education Consortium, USA. The key challenge is how to build sustainable educational model around Open Educational Resources.

Mr Halkhoree, Director CITS was also part of a panel of technology in education where he covered the historical evolution of ICTs at the University of Mauritius. The session was titled “How Context Differs across Africa and How It Affects Higher Education”

A summary of the session is as follows:
The local context affects both education in general and the development of eLearning in particular in every African country. Each country faces its own set of difficulties and challenges. Each one has developed different initiatives to add value, as they set about implementing new schemes. In every African country, however, partnership and collaboration are important keys to success. With case studies from Morocco, Mozambique, Sudan, Eritrea and Sierra Leone, this session looks at how collaboration – between institutions, with the private sector or with the Government – has been an important part of implementation in widely differing contexts.
Mrs Sandhya Gunness from CILL also participated in a panel along high profile panelists from our parent Ministry and foreign panelists. The title of the session was “Education in Schools in Context”.
A summary of the session is as follows:
How is the implementation of education policy affected by the local context? Presenters at this session will examine the experience of Zambia, Uganda, Mauritius and Malawi to assess how teachers, planners and administrators are responding to some challenging problems. The session will consider several case studies, giving participants an opportunity to gain insights into the implementation of ICTs in schools, the provision of support for children with learning difficulties, the use of blended learning to support teacher training and the need for increased integration of digital literacy, leadership and awareness of policy goals.
The local and international panelists were overall high profile, and the sessions were very rich in terms of quality exchanges especially when they were held in small breakout rooms. eLearning Africa 2017 provided excellent networking opportunities and avenues for initiating collaborations both at individual researcher and institutional levels. Another positive element for Mauritius is that the local researchers in the related fields from different institutions were retained among the speakers of the event. 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The International Literacy Day by UNESCO

September 8 was declared International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. Its aim is, according to UNESCO, to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. The 2017 full-day event took place at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The theme was “Literacy in a Digital World” and the main objectives were as follows:
  • To reflect on what it means to be literate in increasingly digitally mediated societies.
  • To explore effective policies and programmes for literacy skills development in a digital world; and
  • To explore how digital technologies can support progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal 4, especially Target 4.6 on youth and adult literacy.
There were 4 sessions for the event. Session 1 was about rethinking literacy in a digital world. The key question was “What does it mean to be literate in the highly digital world of the 21st Century? Panelists discussed on the key skills and competencies required in digital economies and societies.

Session 2 showcased panelists who were engaged in promising programmes that were thought of to advance literacy in a digital world. These programmes formed part of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes 2017.
Session 3 looked at the risks and responses of promoting literacy in a digital world. This session looked into the question of literacy in the digital world through the equity lens, considering both issues an opportunities for inclusion.

The final session was about literacy monitoring and assessment in a digital world. The three main questions that panelists asked in this session were as follows:
  • How can digital tools be used to better measure literacy levels?
  • How can digital skills best be assessed?
  • How can real time data and data analytics advance the monitoring of literacy skills acquisition and management of national information systems?