The SADC Open Distance Learning Regional Awareness Conference held in Livingstone Zambia has come to an end amid calls by delegates to work at increasing awareness of the potential and benefits of the learning mode among members of the public in various member states.
The conference has been officially opened by the Permanent Secretary of the Southern Province, Ms Ingâ€™utu Suba on behalf of the Zambian Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education.
During the opening remarks the Guest of Honour noted that the SADC region continues to face serious challenges in access and quality provision at all levels of education, saying the prevailing situation might make it difficult for the bloc to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All.
With stakeholders noting that regional policy frameworks will assist member states in the implementation of ODL activities, the concept was applauded for playing a critical role in promoting socio-economic development in the SADC region, while the SADC Secretariat committed itself to supporting two member states, Angola and the DRC in setting up their national ODL policies.
Noting that despite having made significant strides, ODL faces the biggest challenge of negative perception, low funding deployment to ODL activities by member states and low understanding of the potential of ODL and its applications.
The conference concluded with a visit to two Zambian institutions, David Livingstone College of Education and a regional centre for the Zambia Open University which offer education through ODL.