Empowering Fashion and Textiles in Madagascar through Distance Learning

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Livelihoods // The authors are currently involved in the setting up of a full-fledged Textiles and Fashion department at a tertiary institution in Madagascar. This development-led and industry-driven project, spanning over three years, is funded by the World Bank. // In the short term, the project carries the challenge of training a critical mass of tutors and learners to sustain the training and research activities of the new Textiles and Fashion department and to support the growing textiles industry, respectively. The rationale behind providing support to this labour-intensive industry is that the textiles and apparel sector contributes greatly to the economic and social stability of Madagascar. // Owing to the size of the country, the dispersion of human resources and the relatively low level of road infrastructure and transportation systems, the institution finds it very difficult to connect to a sizeable mass of learners on the sole basis of classrooms or other face-to-face teaching. Following recent personal communications, the industry would require over 200 trained technical and managerial personnel every year for the next five years. Therefore, as a possible solution to the problem, the stakeholders involved in the project have recognised the need to introduce distance-learning techniques in order to reach out more learners. It is hoped that, through costeffective knowledge creation, the learners would add substantial value to the industry and the economy at large. // Textiles and Fashion have a high component of hands-on practical work and the authors are working on a comprehensive strategy to provide e-learning experiences/support to the textile teaching curriculum of a private institution in Madagascar. They are also currently discussing with the tertiary partner institution as well as a regional funding agency to mount a cost-effective ‘knowledge’ platform dedicated to Textiles and Fashion that would be user-friendly, secure and easy to maintain. // Our paper will focus on a case-study that will be launched early 2008. // Paper ID 436