6 THE AFRICAN VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY PILOT PHASE
This new pilot project by The World Bank could have a significant
impact on future IUPAC/UNESCO initiatives. Activities being carried
out under the pilot phase consist of delivery, by satellite - INTELSAT
803, of credit and non-credit instructional programs, from universities
and educational institutions in developed countries through satellite
receiver terminals to six English, six French, and three Portuguese
speaking African countries. (ref. 44)
Of particular significance is the development of a digital library
program to make scientific information available to African students
and faculties. Ongoing negotiations are underway with a number of
content providers (Indexing and Abstracting Services and Full Text
on-line) as well as library gateway providers. Once these negotiations
have been successfully completed, it could pave the way for access
to current scientific literature to African Universities.
Attention should also be drawn to the Francophone Virtual University,
UREF, which seeks to utilize modern information technologies to serve
the teaching, research, and information access needs of francophone
Africa. A distance learning course for inter alia Chemistry will be
introduced in 1998 on an experimental basis, with the view to set
up a formal program of tertiary studies by the year 2000. (ref.
It would appear that Higher Education is experiencing a shift from
teaching to learning, from contact to distance and open learning,
and from books to electronic and virtual approaches, opening up possibilities
for inter-institutional collaboration.
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