South-South-South Collaboration: Using e-Mail to Develop ICT Policy in African Polytechnics

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Livelihoods // The Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA) with support from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is assisting its members to develop relevant institutional policies to support the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for open and distance learning in their respective contexts. // The participating polytechnics are Ho Polytechnic in the Volta Region of Ghana, Kenya Polytechnic University College in Nairobi, Kenya, the Technical and Vocational Teachers’ College in Lusaka, Zambia, and Eastern Polytechnic, in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Authorised by the heads of their respective institutions, designated staff members in these four polytechnics worked with an ICT policy developer experienced in ODL who lives in the Caribbean to develop a viable framework for an institutional ICT policy that can be used both in African polytechnics and shared more widely to draft relevant ICT policies supporting open and distance learning in a tertiary educational context. // Using traditional methods of face-to-face meetings at some location central to the four institutions located on opposite sides of the African continent would have been impractical because of the cost; however, the collaborative use of Dgroups, a relatively simple and innovative software platform developed and supported by Bellanet of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), allowed designated individuals to communicate and share electronic resources with each other via e-mail, making discussion and communication among the participants both economically viable and convenient. // This paper will present the background of the initiative and its progress from conception to final product. It will highlight the successes and challenges in using the Dgroups modality to develop institutional ICT policy to support open and distance learning (ODL) in TVET, and present the policy framework emerging from the initiative. // Paper ID 408

Ghana,Kenya,Zambia,Sierra Leone