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  • 1. SomaliREN and Emerging Terrestrial Infrastructure
    • Presentation for 7th International Conference on Open Access, Accra, Ghana, 1st - 3rd November 2009
    • Contact:
    • Tom Munyasya, SomaliREN Regional Coordinator
    • email: [email_address] or [email_address]
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 2. Somali Background
    • Somali in Brief
    • Population:
      • 8 – 10 Million
    • Economy:
      • Livestock, trade, agriculture
    • Politics:
      • unstable over 18 years
    • SomaliREN has 7 participating Tertiary institutions across the three zones of Somalia:
      • Somaliland
      • Puntland
      • South-Central – Mogadishu
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 3. SomaliREN Background
    • Initiated through the support of WB and UNDP since 2004 to 7 universities in ODeL mode
    • VSAT solutions – platform and bandwidth of at least 1 MB per site
    • Multi-media labs with facilities & equipped
    • E-content and global partnerships
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 4. Courses: Online Distance Education & eLearning
    • University of Fort Hare, South Africa - Financial Planning and Management (Including PFM and ACCA professions) programme
    • New Jersey Institute of Technology (USA) – Information Technology Master Certificate
    • Maestro LLC (USA) – Crossroads Café (English as a Second Language) and English for Business and Academic Success
    • Indiana University in Pennsylvania (USA) - Journalism (certificate, Diploma and Degree programs)
    • Georgetown University (USA) - Business English (Certificate and Diploma)
    • African Development Bank (AfDB)/ AVU - Teacher Training Program (Diploma and Degree programs)
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 5. HIGHLIGHTS
    • More than 1200 Somali students benefited annually since 2004.
    • 185 Somali professionals completed initial cycle of Financial Planning & Management, further 700+ on other job-related courses.
    • By August 2008, ODeL graduates were over 4,000; 30% females and 60% civil servants, a practical testimony for value of technological investment and open access .
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 6. SomaliREN – Social Economic Impact
    • Access to technology supported training catalyzed Somali development and peace building in conflict zone
    • Professional development opportunities especially with the short courses, led to career progression
    • Networking opportunities for the seven Universities with the global knowledge economy
  • 7. Emerging Terrestrial Infrastructure
    • Entry of www.swedfund.se , providing risk capital for investments in developing countries, which has invested in Somali Telecom Group (STG) based in Djibouti and having a GSM network in Somaliland and Puntland.
    • Somali Association of Telecom Operators (SATO) that covers the Central-South zone is planning a terrestrial connection from Kenya and is also a key partner in the ongoing EASSY Project.
    • STG planning a fiber infrastructure from Djibouti into Somaliland and Puntland that may provide links for SomaliREN and its interconnection to Ubuntunet in Djibouti.
    • PPP possible – Telecom operators to connect the universities in exchange of staff training opportunities.
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 8. Accessing Communication Infrastructure
    • Access to communication infrastructure is important and timely in Somali today as it remains the main backbone to education, research and access to global knowledge resources.
    • The Swedish Government and higher learning institutions have lately indicated their willingness to collaborate with the Somali Universities through the AfricaConnect initiative, which is part of the 8th partnership on Science and Technology between the African Union and the European Union.
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 9. SomaliREN – Other Developments
    • Re-entry of the World Bank - providing Video Conferencing Facilities to SIMAD, University of Hargeisa and Puntland State University before end of 2009.
    • Centre for British Teachers (CFBT) Education Trust – supporting establishment of Somali Higher Education Commission with the help of Commission for Higher Education in Kenya, an EU funded project. 
    • UNDP Somalia re-engagement - to support Somali Universities before the end of the year.
    • USAID contract - US universities offering Conflict Resolution courses in collaboration with Somali Universities.
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 10. Key Focal Areas
    • Somali Universities Institutional Capacity Building
    • Research enhancement
    • Curriculum Development and Harmonization
    • Fellowships, International Recognition and Accreditation
    • Donor harmonization and coordination
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 11. Challenges - 1
    • Inadequate human, financial and infrastructural capacity in the region emerged as being integral to the core challenges confronted by the public sector
    • Political instability/uncertainty
    • Integration and co-ordination of capacity building support initiatives
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 12. Challenges - 2
    • Social-Cultural factors – prayer breaks, separate rooms
    • ODeL concept unknown in Somali
    • Limited technology – Fiber optic
    • Bandwidth Costs - high
    • Limited qualified human capital
    • Ability to tailor material to local context
    • Quality assurance framework
    • Obtaining accreditation and articulation
    • High cost of Communication Infrastructure
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 13. Challenges - 3
    • Public Sector Skills & Expertise
    • ODeL vs traditional learning
    • Capacity across government organs
    • Changes in workforce
    • Staff turnover at sites
    • Travel visa restrictions
    • Donor coordination & fatigue
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 14. Lessons Learned
    • Access to communication infrastructure can fast track training programmes - the teacher program will see Amoud University train and offer degrees to over 1,200 teachers by 2010 who are junior secondary teachers but are currently teaching at high schools due to poor staffing levels in schools.
    • Using distance learning to offer education qualifications is prudent and globally acceptable.
    • Inadequate infrastructure at local universities hinder the responsibility of offering quality education to qualified students.
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 15. Lessons Learned – cont’d
    • ODeL partnership to offer open and distance e-learning to students provide an innovative and practical way of extending access to University education to people around the country.
    • ICT supported learning has the potential to improve the quality of teaching and training in Africa.
    • African governments, cooperate partners and universities need to mainstream Information Communication Technology (ICT) in their educational policies and higher education to increase access to university education.
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 16. Conclusions
    • Online Distance Learning is gaining international acceptance as a preferred mode of delivery for capacity building initiatives.
    • Efficiencies obtained and costs saved should compensate for the challenges experienced.
    • Technological access and innovative education has shown the potential it can have in restoring posterity in Somali and hence the international community should not tire in further enhancement to achieve full sustainability.
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 17. Websites
    • Somali Universities
      • University of Hargeisa, http://hargeisauniversity.net
      • Amoud University, www.amouduniversity.net
      • East Africa University, www.eastafricauniversity.com
      • Mogadishu University, www.mogadishuuniversity.com
      • SIMAD, http://simadsom.org
      • Puntland State University, www.puntlandstateuniversity.com
      • University of Burao, www.universityofburao.com
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development
  • 18. Mahadsanidiin (Thanks)
    • Questions?
    • Comments!
    Theme: Harnessing the rapid growth of fibre infrastructure for social economic development

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