UNESCO supports advancing online learning platforms for teacher institutions in 10 sub-Saharan African countries


Over 40 representatives from nine Sub-Saharan African countries – Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Congo, DR Congo, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda, Togo, Zambia – joined the UNESCO-China Funds-In-Trust (CFIT) Project study tour from 29 to 31 May 2018 in Namibia. Being also one of the CFIT countries, the representatives gathered to learn from CFIT Namibia’s experience in establishing an online community of practice for teacher educators and teachers.

Namibia’s KOPANO (meaning: The united/togetherness ) platform, hosted and managed by the University of Namibia and supported by the CFIT project, is a prime example of using ICT to improve teacher training quality. The platform provides teaching and learning materials, chat forum etc., and has over 5000 users across the country. The other nine CFIT countries also presented their online learning management system which connects to over 45000 users in the ten countries in Africa.

Participants from the ten countries also visited the Dordabis Primary School to observe how CFIT provided equipment and materials used to conduct learner-centered teaching. The school principal and Teachers thanked the donor and UNESCO for providing innovative materials and training, to improve their teaching practice amid shortage of resources.

The study tour delegation led by the UNESCO Head of Office and Representative to Namibia also paid a curtesy visit to the Chinese Embassy. Delegates informed about key achievements of UNESCO-CFIT and expressed gratitude to the Chinese Embassy for the Chinese Government’s support to education in their respective countries, which is also an expression of friendship and love. The Chinese Embassy thanked the delegates for the commitment of their Governments, taking full ownership of the CFIT project and measures to ensure sustainability of project’s achievements.

Delegates found the study tour an eye-opening experience, ‘The ownership of the KOPANO platform by the University and Namibia Government’s support is impressive,’ one delegate observed. The participants interacted and made connections with each other, shared plans to expand their CFIT online learning platforms, to become regional online learning hubs for teacher educators and teachers .They pledged to bring concrete results to real people through the interventions.

The $12 million UNESCO-CFIT project was launched in 2013, aiming at using ICT to improving the quality of teacher education in teacher education institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. Previous UNESCO-CFIT study tours were organized in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and China.