Regional nuclear education initiative launched

Ghana, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA, has launched the African Centre for Science and International Security and is setting up e-learning platforms for nuclear education and training.

The centre, which is the first of its kind to be established in Africa, was launched on 24 May to promote peaceful applications of nuclear energy through research, education and outreach programmes, according to a report in Ghana Business News.

It will also maximise benefits from the use of science and technology in fields including nuclear energy and space systems, and tackle issues such as detecting and dealing with hazards and protecting civilians and non-civilians from weapons, dangerous substances and equipment.

Managed by the AFRA-Network for Education of Nuclear Science and Technology, or AFRA-NEST, the new e-learning nuclear initiative was outlined at a five-day African regional workshop held in Ghana from 20-24 May.

The initiative plans to facilitate access to educational resources and teaching experience, provide a convenient, user-friendly and flexible e-learning environment and contribute towards developing nuclear skills and competencies.

The server for the e-learning initiative is currently hosted by the School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences in the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission at the University of Ghana, which will serve as a regional hub for Africa to install and operate the e-learning platform

According to the IAEA website, information and communication technologies will be used for web-based education and training. Workshops will be held in the use of IAEA’s learning management systems, regional and inter-regional cooperation will be promoted, and a forum will be set up to discuss policies and strategies for nuclear education and training.

The initiative will also support the exchange of information and materials for education and training, and create a database of human resources, nuclear facilities and equipment, as well as formulating masters programmes and establishing modalities for degree recognition and credit transfer.

AFRA-NEST will work to integrate all available nuclear higher education capabilities in Africa as well as industries and nuclear professional associations, in synergy with the IAEA and other regional and international nuclear educational institutions.

Senior nuclear experts will be encouraged to mentor young professionals, scholarships will be awarded to brilliant young students for study and research in nuclear disciplines, and there will be recognition of designated regional centres for professional nuclear education.

Furthermore, AFRA-NEST will facilitate networking in higher education and research in nuclear science, and will develop harmonised approaches to nuclear education by establishing curricula and facilitating mutual degree recognition as well as the exchange of students, teachers and researchers.