The Open University of Tanzania (OUT) and Instituto Superior de Ciencias e Educacao a Distancia (ISCED) from Mozambique have a signed an agreement that will, among other things, facilitate the exchange of staff and students that will see Kiswahili and Portuguese languages being taught between the two countries.
Speaking at a brief ceremony held at the OUT premises in Dar es Salaam, Vice-Chancellor Prof Elifas Bisanda said that evidence shows that there are many students coming from Mozambique to different institutions to learn Kiswahili.
“For starters Tanzania and Mozambique have a long bilateral history and so it only made sense to partner with an institution from there. Two, we are increasingly seeing students coming from there to learn Kiswahili and we feel it makes more sense to send teachers there and the impact will be bigger.
Students who want to learn Portuguese will also benefit from this,” he said. Prof Bisanda explained that the five-year partnership that they have signed starts immediately and that their next step is to prepare service levy agreements such that it is known how many lecturers will be going and other logistics.
Other areas of collaboration in the MOU is in research where the VC said that as an institution they have contacted numerous researches as has ISCED and that they will look into the areas where they have commonalities.
He said also that they have agreed to partner in technology transfer particularly in the area of software and hardware for people with disabilities like the visually impaired.
“During the visit earlier this week, our friends from Mozambique were visibly impressed with the gadgets for those visually impaired and expressed their interest to partner in this area because such technology isn’t yet widespread,” he said.
The ISCED Director General, Prof Domingos Chidassicua, said that he felt privileged to have been in the signing of the MoU but felt a little jittery because open distance learning was still new in Mozambique and the signing was a great responsibility.
Prof Chidassicua said that it was his firm belief that online education was education for the future and so the MOU was a right decision.
The National Open University of Nigeria Vice-Chancellor, Prof Abdallah Uba Adamu, said that as distance learning starts making sense, there was need to start a Diaspora Africa initiative where say a Nigerian working in Wales can register online from a Nigerian university and study from outside the country instead of enrolling in foreign open universities.
“I was very excited when I got the Vice-President’s position of the African Council for Distance Education (ACDE) and to know that a Pan African Programme exists. Distance learning for long hasn’t been appreciated but through partnerships like this and by looking for intra African partnerships, we will get there,” he said.
The Mozambican Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Monica Patricio Clemente Mussa, said that she was very happy to have witnessed the signing and that taking into account that OUT has a lot of experience in distance learning, the partnership would be very beneficial to their country.
Source: Daily News