The 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:
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