New Centre of Competence in Digital Education launched

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Article, 02.10.2023

The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) through its centre of excellence in Water Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy Futures (WISE- Futures) inaugurated its Centre of Competence in Digital Education (C-CoDE). 

From L – R: Dr. Jérôme Chenal, Prof. Maulilio Kipanyula, Prof. Ladslaus Mnyone and Mr. Holger Tausch at the launch event.
From L – R: Dr. Jérôme Chenal, Prof. Maulilio Kipanyula, Prof. Ladslaus Mnyone and Mr. Holger Tausch at the launch event. © NM-AIST

NM-AIST was one of six African universities selected in 2021 to create a C-CoDE as part of the Excellence in Africa (EXAF) initiative. EXAF is a joint programme by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P). Through its Digital Education pillar, EXAF aims at promoting the sustainable integration of digital education in African universities. The C-CoDE at NM-AIST is designed to support the transformation of training and educational practices through digital tools and technologies in Tanzania and in the broader region.

The Centre was launched in the presence of the Director of Science, Technology and Innovation Prof. Ladslaus Mnyone, representing the Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. Also present were Mr. Holger Tausch, the Deputy Head of Mission and Head of International Cooperation at the Embassy of Switzerland in Tanzania; Prof Maulilio Kipanyula, Vice Chancellor at NM-AIST; and Dr. Jérôme Chenal; EXAF Co-Director.

In his remarks, Mr. Tausch highlighted the close cooperation between EPFL and NM-AIST, and congratulated the Institution for its efforts to strengthen digital education and improve the quality of higher education in Tanzania and the region. “Digitalisation is progressing rapidly, transforming society, business and our daily lives. We look forward to seeing the C-CoDE elevating digital education at NM-AIST, enabling faculty members to catch up with the ever-changing technologies”, he said.

NM-AIST has worked closely with EPFL and UM6P to construct a studio with the necessary multimedia equipment and IT infrastructure. The project also provided training to the technicians who operate the studio, to resident experts who will act as associate trainers for the Centre, and to NM-AIST professors and lecturers, who will create online courses.

“We are delighted to be working with NM-AIST for the inauguration of its C-CoDE. This is a breakthrough for the educational sector in Tanzania, reflecting the commitment to moving towards digital education and preparing future generations for the challenges of digitization”, stated Mr. Hicham El Habti, President of UM6P and Co-Director of EXAF, in his congratulatory message from Morocco.

Universities’ transition to digital education, including the sustainable integration of digital technologies and the adoption of new pedagogical approaches, requires upskilling of key stakeholders. The creation of C-CoDEs, which combine these pedagogical and technological competences, will accelerate universities’ digital transition. The online courses they produce could ultimately lead to a pooling of digital teaching materials, which could be used by other universities both nationally and regionally.

Representing EPFL, Dr. Jérôme Chenal said it's essential to see digital education as an ecosystem. For it to work successfully, many elements come into play, whether it’s infrastructure, technology, pedagogy and institutional or regulatory buy-in. “Through the C-CoDE we have contributed to developing the physical infrastructure, but also the expertise of the experts in digital education, faculty members and technicians to produce quality pedagogical materials, and ultimately online courses”.

“The inauguration of the C-CoDE will accelerate NM-AIST’s integration of digital education in its teaching of STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines. Together with the other elements of the ecosystem, NM-AIST will become a leading institution in offering quality online courses”, he stated.

Excellence in Africa EXAF

The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology / WISE - Futures

Source: EPFL