From the beginning of 2004 to the end of 2006, an Australian university delivered a foreign-aid funded 24-unit, three-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program in a virtual education mode in four countries in Africa. The four countries were Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Rwanda. The program was coordinated by the African Virtual University (AVU). This paper reports on the results of this transnational virtual higher education program. The results indicate substantial proof that the concept of virtual education is workable in Sub-Saharan Africa, but equally substantial inhibiting factors that impact on the delivery of such programs. The polemics undermining success include, firstly, universal issues evident in all countries, such as technological infrastructure, the potential for cultural pedagogical clash, and locally-oriented business mindsets; secondly, country-specific issues, such as English language proficiency, disjuncture between African secondary education systems and Western tertiary requirements, and characteristics of the student body; and thirdly, localized issues, such as the quality of local academics and administrators. A process of ‘rich contextualization’ is offered as a means of localizing foreign virtual higher education programs, and overcoming the inherent pedagogical problems. This process would involve contextualizing not only content, but also delivery style.
|Keywords:||Transnational Education, Virtual Education, Sub-saharan Africa, Business Studies|
Secretary, Asian Forum on Business Education (AFBE), Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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