Access to quality higher and continuing education is a priority for the thirty countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where the African Virtual University (AVU) is operating, and brick and mortar institutions have not been able to face the soaring demand. The enrollment gap has created a momentum for Open, Distance and eLearning (ODeL), more countries and partner institutions have requested AVU to scale up its offers, especially for degree programs. In 2014, the General Assembly adopted the new vision of the AVU “To prepare learners, using open distance and eLearning, to better contribute to the development of the African continent through provision of high quality tertiary and continuing education”.
The General Assembly also adopted two important milestones, the Full- Fledged University Study and Business Plan 2014-2019. The move is considered as consolidating the gains, escalating operations and securing long term sustainability. The full-fledged university is the rationale behind the next phase in the life of the AVU. It will allow AVU to contribute more effectively to increase access to quality education, to contribute to train the human capital required for the socio-economic development of the African continent, to support state and institution members in their efforts to increase access, and to strengthen collaborations with its regional and international partners.
The partnership with the African Development (AfDB) has been beneficial to the AVU and its partners. The outcomes and impact of the two Multinational Projects covering 26 countries and 37 institutions have provided the platform for success and growth.
The AVU won the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) Institutional Prize for Excellence 2015. This recognizes AVU among its peers globally. AVU is certainly an asset for the African continent, with its 18 years’ experience of mitigating the several challenges facing ODeL, enhancing the capacity of partners, and providing education opportunities to tens of thousands of learners. It is equally an asset for the development of human capital that the continent needs to sustain economic development.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board of Directors, the partners and friends of the AVU, in particular the AfDB, and our dedicated staff. I pray that the AVU continues to be more successful in its efforts to provide innovative solutions.