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African Virtual University

testThe World Bank began work on the African Virtual University (AVU), a satellite-based distance education program, in 1995. The program intends to provide Sub-Saharan African countries with university education in science and engineering, credit/continuing education programs, and remedial instruction. The program has three objectives:

  • Train a large number of African scientists, technicians, engineers, business managers, and employees in Africa;
  • Encourage the further development of scientists, technicians, engineers, business managers, and employees;
  • Provide an academic environment in which African educational institutions, faculty, and students can participate in the worldwide community of learning, research, and knowledge dissemination.

To implement the operational phase, AVU has been transformed from being a project of the World Bank to an independent reputable inter-governmental organization based in Nairobi, Kenya with over 34 learning centers in 17 African countries. The success of the AVU "proof-of-concept” stage and “transition” phase (July 1997–December 2001) offers evidence that AVU is well positioned to add tremendous value to its students and university partner institutions in Africa.

During the "proof-of-concept” stage, AVU:

  • Created a network of partner institutions in 17 francophone, anglophone, and lusophone African countries, with learning centers hosted mainly in public universities;
  • Linked to a global network of leading universities;
  • Established 31 sites in 17 African countries;
  • Delivered in excess of 3,000 hours of instructional programs, sourced from leading universities in North America and Europe;
  • Registered over 23,000 students in its semester-long courses
  • Enrolled close to 2,500 professionals in executive business seminars;
  • Provided 1,000 PCs to learning centers;
  • Set up a network of 45,000 e-mail account holders and a digital library of more than 1,000 journals;

    Achieved over 40 percent participation of women in AVU’s pre-university courses at the most active learning centers.

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