E-Learning university launches new MOOCs platform
The Learn4All initiative, which follows the MOOCs – massive open online courses – trend, was launched by the university last month, according to a press report.
“The increasing demand for higher education and professional development programmes in Egypt necessitates a wider expansion in quality continuing higher education and non-formal education programmes,” says the Learn4All website.
“Providing these programmes on a quality basis with some sort of certification will be of great importance, especially as we know there is reluctance in Egypt towards non-formal education programmes.”
Egypt needed Learn4All as the country has high demand for learning opportunities but a very limited and slow-growing rate of supply, the website added.
According to a November 2013 report on education in Egypt, in 2010 there were 2.65 million tertiary students in the country.
They were attending 23 public universities, 19 private universities, 18 public institutions of higher education and 81 private institutions. The government would like to see the number of students in higher education rise rapidly to 2.8 million, the report said.
The Learn4All initiative will establish an open portal that provides learning opportunities for all with no restrictions or entry requirements in various fields of the sciences and arts.
It will focus on building and maintaining an Egyptian repository of open education resources where educational institutions will cooperate to design, develop, evaluate, use, reuse, exchange and share learning objects and resources.
The Learn4All initiative will also provide a learning context that enables learners to acquire and practice ICT skills, and will establish a self-paced learning approach.
With three centres located in Cairo, Delta and Upper Egypt, the Egyptian E-Learning University was started in August 2008 and aims to produce industry ready workers equipped with scientific, technical and business perspectives for a knowledge-based economy.
Magdi Tawfik Abdelhamid, a professor at Cairo’s National Research Centre, welcomed the initiative, which he said could act as a ‘university without walls’ using MOOC multimedia tools and enabling students to study in the workplace, at home or abroad.
He mentioned other MOOC-based Arab education platforms including Edraak by the Jordan-based Queen Rania Foundation and Rwaq by a Saudi entrepreneur.
“Learn4all is the first educational initiative by an Arab university for promoting MOOCs-based e-learning as well as providing ready-made courses for students and graduates to help them to become independent learners,” Abdelhamid told University World News.
“The Learn4All initiative should focus on providing courses for developing soft skills for university graduates in order to make them a market-ready workforce.”
Also, Learn4all should link with similar national and African regional initiatives to form a network of MOOC-based education platforms in order to create an outstanding environment for e-learning and be a leading innovator of e-learning in Africa.
“This proposed network could act as an instrument for human capacity building, bridging the digital divide, and promoting technical cooperation and knowledge transfer as well as increasing access to higher education and spearheading e-education,” Abdelhamid concluded.