AVU shifts up a gear

November 29, 2002

A THES special report on the eve of a meeting of Africa's education ministers

The African Virtual University will reach the end of its five-year pilot phase in the new year when it starts to offer full degree courses, Wachira Kigotho writes.

The first degree, in computer studies, will be offered through a partnership with the University of Dar es Salaam and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. A second degree, in business administration, will be launched in June through Addis Ababa University and Curtin University of Australia.

In addition to the four-year degree programmes, two-year diploma programmes in the two courses will be launched.

Cheick Modibo Diarra, AVU's chief executive officer, said the accrediting universities were selected through a competitive process that involved experts from the World Bank and leading universities in Africa.

The two Australian universities will develop a curriculum relevant to students in the continent and help the African partner universities to deliver the courses through fast internet links to other learning centres in participating universities in sub-Saharan Africa.

A World Bank-led consortium, which includes the European Union, the Canadian International Development Agency and the US and Australian governments, has contributed $16.15 million (£10.3 million) to the project.

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