Construction of Open Learning Centres on track-NCHE

Written by  Gladys Nthenda

Construction of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) centres in Lilongwe is on course and according to authorities; good progress has been made as the centres are expected to be ready by April 2019, as stipulated in the work-plan.

NCHE officials inspecting ODL structures NCHE officials inspecting ODL structures

Funded by a loan from the World Bank, the centres will increase access to higher education which is currently hampered by limited classroom and bed space.

Coordinated by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) under the Skills Development Programme (SDP), the Project involves institutions such as the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Chancellor College, the Polytechnic, Mzuzu University and TEVETA.

Unlike the ODL Hub site at LUANAR campus, works at the Area 48 Centre could be seen to be delaying.

Skills Development Project Coordinator Dr. Joshua Valeta, argued this is because they have adopted a new technology which uses steel fabricated materials imported from China which needs time to design the foundations properly.

“When everything is done and we have the material from China; it’s just a matter of 6 weeks and you’ll see the whole thing up there and within 2 months, we have the whole structure standing and the roof ready,” assured Valeta.

NCHE’s Policy Research and Planning Manager Richmond Chinula explained that once finished, students and lecturers from the five centres will be able to interact with each other online.

He was upbeat the centres will improve the country’s access to tertiary education.

“Since the inception of ODL in July 2016, they have already enrolled 1538 students over the period”.

“In 5 year’s time, there will be huge numbers of students having access to higher education which government is committed to do and we want to help it fulfill the initiative,” stressed Chinula.

The ODL Hub at LUANAR is worth $250 000 while the one in Area 48 is estimated to cost $3 Million.


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