Policy and National Priority Contexts of E-Learning in Contemporary African Universities:  Pitfalls and Opportunities

Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on Research in Education, Teaching and Learning

Year: 2023

DOI: https://www.doi.org/10.33422/6th.icetl.2023.02.006


Policy and National Priority Contexts of E-Learning in Contemporary African Universities:  Pitfalls and Opportunities

Prof. Sam Obadiah Smah




A critical institutional analysis based on the survey of secondary data was employed to generate relevant data for this paper. Relevant existing documentary resources on the impact of the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic-induced lockdowns on education within the national policy framework responses to them were evaluated by way of comparative exploration of African universities. The analysis of the generated data indicates that the ‘disruptions’ of the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent lockdown measures imposed across the world stimulated ‘temporary shifts’ in the delivery of learning in both traditional-based and open and distance learning (ODL) university institutions. Based on the objective to assess the sequence, nature, and implications of the national and institutional responses to the ‘new normal’, the paper further found that African universities were slower in responding to the changes occasioned by the covid-19 pandemic. Also, national policy frameworks on e-learning were non-existent or slow paced;  e-learning was not a national priority for most of the countries; universities with dual mode mandates mainstreamed e-learning approaches faster; pre-existing e-learning universities faced competitors as newer universities took off with strong ODL orientations, while others expanded on their mandates. The significance of the aforesaid is that a combination of global, national, and industry factors as well as institution-based e-learning ecosystem policies affected the pace of the transition to e-learning systems. These factors manifested in and from the slow-paced policy shifts, funding, and other institution-based pitfalls typically the learners’ phobia of computers, unsustainability of internet services, poor electricity, and resistant employee attitudes. Yet, open and distance learning premised on e-learning resources remain the most viable change option to the constrained access to university education in traditional face-to-face African university institutions across regional differences

keywords: Change, ecosystem, learning, open and distance, Transition