“It’s going to be a great new world; our desire for accessible and inclusive learning opportunities for our citizens will become a reality as we forge towards embracing opportunities offered by Open and Distance Learning.”
This was the opening remark by Professor Miriam Conteh-Morgan, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Institute of Public Administration and Management, at the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) supported ODL policy development workshop held at the University of Sierra Leone (USL). Forty-seven stakeholders comprising staff of USL and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), participated from 5 – 7 October 2023.
Mr Victor Abu Sesay, ICT Director, Ministry of Higher Education, stated that this activity is timely, quoting that “the reality is that we are unable to admit all qualified students into institutions of higher learning simply because we do not have the space in our conventional universities. Thus, ODL provides a more sustainable and inclusive option.”
During the event, a baseline report and general policy landscape of USL were shared, followed by presentations of an overview of ODL and the rationale for ODL policy for higher education in the country. An ODL policy outline was approved by stakeholders to guide the draft policy statements. At the end of the group exercises, the draft statements were presented by the group leaders and validated by the stakeholders at the end of the meeting.
Professor Jane-Frances Agbu, Adviser: Higher Education at COL and workshop organiser, added, “We at COL are delighted that the TEC, Sierra Leone’s regulatory body, strongly supports using ODL to help address challenges of access and equity in tertiary education.”