Online graduates receive diplomas

Fifteen graduates of the digital Campus Numerique Francophone, or CNF, of Kinshasa have received their awards for successful online studies.

Alula Nyota, secretary-general at the Ministry for Higher and University Education, presented diplomas for the students' open and distance learning courses, known by their French acronym FOAD - formations ouvertes et a distance - and certificates for massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

Ten graduated in international and comparative environmental law, three in business and sales, one in neurobiology and one in economic and management law, reported Le Potentiel of Kinshasa.

Campus Numeriques Francophones, or CNFs - French-language digital campuses - are establishments set up by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, or AUF, to support the use of information and communication technologies in its partner higher education institutions and for dissemination of online and distance courses for students and employees through FOAD.

FOAD offers online studies from universities in Europe, and from institutions in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Egypt, Lebanon, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia.

The AUF also offers assistance for partner institutions introducing MOOCs, or CLOMs - Cours en ligne ouverts et massifs - as they are known in French. The agency has entered a partnership agreement with the French government to develop French-language MOOCs and link universities in the global North and South.

The CNF de Kinshasa opened in 2003, and is based at Le CEDESURK, the Centre of documentation of higher and university education and research in Kinshasa.

At the awards ceremony Nyota said the country needed the "support of all its sons and daughters in numerous fields - scientific, cultural, technological and so on", reported Le Potentiel.

"The development of this country is not only the affair of traditional education but also online and distance education, which is opportune as the second complements the first," she emphasised.

"Our ministry, concerned about the education of young Congolese from all sectors of society, has spared no effort in adopting the system of open and distance education," said Nyota.

Regulation of the qualifications ensured they were equivalent to those required by legislation covering diplomas from abroad, she explained.

Professor Jean Rene Galekwa, head of CNF de Kinshasa, praised the graduates' determination and hard work during their studies. "Most of them knew how to combine their professional activity and their family responsibilities with the hard reality of distance education. Big sacrifices had to be made," Le Potentiel reported him as saying.

The courses were provided almost entirely via digital technologies, and examinations took place "in traditional fashion, supervised in a room; the diplomas have the same academic value as classic diplomas", said Galekwa.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.