The Scholars Program office at the University of Gondar organized a progress report for its e-learning initiative on July 5, 2022 in the President’s Senate Hall. The report was presented to top management to illustrate the advantages and overwhelming untapped potential of virtual learning and what the University could do to fast-track this transition.
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, has for the past 5 years, done a number of initiatives to further the aims of marginalized groups in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa. The Scholars Program has been able to give a once-in-a-lifetime education to talented people with disabilities and disadvantages which is a first of its kind in the world. In its culmination, this unique Program will have given an all-expense paid for University Education to 450 talented youth from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea.
With that being said though the Scholars Program is also focused on another aspect of teaching that will give educational opportunities for many more individuals who are not able to make it to conventional classrooms. This forward-thinking program is its e-learning initiative. The Scholars Program office has been able to work with Arizona State University, which is located in the United States, to lead the Program through various stages of training and certificate programs. At present, the pilot program has chosen three departments and has 15 e-learning champions who are on track to getting certified in e-learning pedagogy.
When speaking on the proposed results of the program the President of the University of Gondar, Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn, spoke quite optimistically about the future. “We are currently in the beginning phases of ramping up our ICT infrastructure, and our newly built ICT building will go a long way in making our aspirations of becoming an e-learning University come true” shared Dr. Asrat.
During the Covid- 19 pandemic, there were real signs of online learning. The University of Gondar took part in virtual classes, performed research defense on Microsoft teams, and even held a virtual graduation ceremony. UoG is ready to build on that momentum from 2020 and the e-learning champions will be ambassadors of virtual learning which will allow many more university staff to know the science.
Dr. Asrat concluded by sharing that the University must institutionalize such endeavors to sustainably develop, not only the University of Gondar, but also the entire country. “E-learning initiatives shows UoG’s potential in virtual learning and we have a lot to do, but we are willing to do our best to progress the cause moving forward” stressed the President.