Algeria’s first educational television channel, called Knowledge, will be launched next year as part of the country’s efforts to improve the quality of university education through open and distance learning.
This follows on the creation of an experimental e-masters programme at five universities, as reported by University World News.
The new initiatives were announced by Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Tahar Hadjar at an international forum on “Distance Education – Between theory and application: Algerian model”, held from 15-17 November at Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou, according to the ministry website.
Both projects are steps towards implementing Algeria's distance education initiative.
It focuses on promoting the use of educational technology at universities via a network of video-conferencing and e-learning platforms, disseminated in almost all training institutions, in order to absorb learner flows, improve the quality of teaching and training and reach a wider audience of learners.
The Knowledge channel
Managed by the University of Continuing Education, which will be transformed into an open university next year, the TV channel Knowledge will broadcast educational material to university students as well as local and international conferences, workshops and lectures.
The TV channel was presented as one of the solutions to decrease pressure on Algeria's universities, which suffer from overcrowding, inadequate management and lack of resources, as indicated in a recent report on Higher Education in Algeria, which revealed that the number of university students had topped more than a million and was expected to double in the coming years.
It is believed to be the fourth higher education channel in Africa after Mauritania, Open University of Sudan TV, and Egypt which has two channels – the Nile Channels for Higher Education and the El-Manara Channel for Scientific Research.
The experimental e-masters programme has used distance education during the current academic year at five institutions, and is expected to be implemented eventually at all of Algeria's universities.
Hilmi Salem, an international higher education consultant, welcomed the new developments in Algeria's e-learning capabilities, which would “provide affordable and easy-to-use solutions for enhancing access to university education”.
They would also help tackle a lack of student places in universities by “widening learning opportunities in formal education systems and lifelong learning, as well as offering a great chance for Algeria's higher education institutions to adapt courses efficiently to the requirements of different categories of students”, he told University World News.
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