National Open and Distance Learning policy validated
ByCherno Omar Bobb
The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MOHERST) in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (CoL) on Wednesday validated the National Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Policy for The Gambia following a three-day high-level meeting on its development and validation at NAQAA Conference Hall.
The policy is designed to provide the operational instrument that will guide the management and coordination of ODL programs and activities in The Gambia. It will further serve as reference material for those interested in participating in the delivery of ODL as practitioners, learners, policy makers or regulators.
Dr. Jorjoh Ndure-Jambedou, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Insist Global and a participant for the development and validation of the policy told reporters after the validation that they learned about different university experiences and how they coped during the Covid-19 pandemic using ODL.
She stated that they have seen ODL policies being implemented in other countries but noted that they had to make sure it fits our context as a country.
Madam Ndure-Jambedou who is also the Chair for Sector Skills Council for ICT added that as an employer, they have a lot of graduates that come in to be developed, saying as employers the policy is good for them.
He further said that The Gambia needs to join the digital transformation bandwagon.
She cited that when Covid-19 hit, it reminded us that we needed to have a resilient education sector. However, she said after Covid-19 they went back to face to face learning which needs to change.
She pointed out that having the ODL policy will accelerate the digital transformation agenda of the education system in The Gambia.
“It is important that we have the ODL policy implemented because it means we can now compete at global level but also an opportunity to provide accessible and affordable education for all to contribute to Gambia’s socio-economic development,” she also said.
Aboubacarr Jallow, Principal for The Gambia College said ODL is the way forward because there are a lot of people who want access to tertiary and higher education but could not because of the limitation of space and stiff entry requirements to go into universities as well as the high cost, among others.
He stated that ODL will open the gate for access to tertiary and higher education for everybody at their convenience in terms of location, timing and cost.
He noted that the threats of Open and Distance Learning are there but highlighted that the opportunities that it will provide for the country outweighs whatever obstacle may be there.