Following the emergence of the pandemic there has been a shift in the learning space from physical to online platforms, thus Revealed World University (RWU) held a two-day virtual meeting called “Transformative education with Short Course Programs Post Covid19 Solution to Unemployment in Africa” on May 1-2, 2021.
During this event the discussions centred around ways that we could bring transformative education that will make a difference in the African lives and community whilst addressing employment issues in the current climate. The virtual event had in attendance the University’s Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, the Chief Executive Officer, and other top officials.
Representatives from the university’s partners were also in attendance such as African Tourism Board, World Women Leading Change, Women of Value Africa, and International University of Management and Administration.
In his welcoming speech the Chief Executive Officer of Revealed Word University, Mr Celestin Ngirabakunzi welcomed this opportunity as a way for the various experts, businesses with various educational background and experiences to impact knowledge in assisting with developing new and old ones, ourselves, and the rest of the world.
The first speaker Dean of RWU Prof Dr. Jean Baptist focused on the role and immediate intervention of microfinances and new business for post covid19 Africa stating that although we are falling on hard times, new opportunities have been revealed that we could take advantage of and be used to impact our communities.
“There are many opportunities even though in such hard time is affecting different sectors of human being life, social economical situations is really going down, financial issues is going down but there are many new opportunities that are really being revealed not only the Word of God that is being revealed but even opportunities are revealed. For example, the new technologies: it is possible with Zoom clouds meetings and Google Meets. There are many opportunities that are created today with 21st century we are shifting from analogic to digital of learning”.
The second speaker Prof Dr Veronique the Vice Chancellor of Revealed Word University, looked at the Biblical way of life after covid19 and fighting its consequences in Africa. The Vice Chancellor underlined how in times of suffering we question ourselves especially as Christians. Wondering what God’s will in our lives and where do we go from here but most importantly that God has good plans for our lives and grieves over our suffering and pains.
“As an answer the gospel loudly proclaims God’s will for people and that God’s will is life not death and suffering because God griefs over human suffering and sins, even Jesus wept over Jerusalem, he suffered when he also saw how Jerusalem is behaving and us, we responding to suffering with lament and tears, if we have lost our capacity to cry, we have lost our right to others pain. Suffering is contrary to the goodwill of God”.
The Vice Chancellor further emphasising that we should be tangible as stewards of life and resources.
“Our calling is to steward life and resources with which we have been entrusted with so that we end human suffering and allow the spirit of God through as tangible expressions of God’s trustworthiness and love”.
Dr. Jacques Edjrokinto President of IUMA (International University of Management and Administration) in Benin, offered practical solutions that the Republic of Benin and the university has adopted since the pandemic hit and ways to improve learning for both students and lecturers.
“The pandemic offered an opportunity to see the limit of face-to-face training, it was an opportunity to develop many contents, soft work and online programs. We arranged a system with the television and national radio and online to put the content of the courses. We developed 3:
The first to train lectures to write the content, to put online the content;
The second strategy to teach students how they can follow courses online and use facility of the telephone and iPad and train them to follow the course directly.
Third strategy is setup platform, the platform we setup is the Moodle system, and we arrange with technician and supplier and we get system and we put many courses on the platform”.
Additionally, the president was focusing on the practicability of online and distance learning for post covid19 job and employability in Africa, how we can help our people in Africa attend the course without any trouble.
“The future of Africa is in three sectors:
The first is education we have many possibilities to receive course, but we need to train to educate our people we need to give them education to be able to invent many things.
The second aspect for the development of the world is technology we need to train people about the technology and to give them power to be able to invent to be able to develop and to imagine the future.
The final aspect is handcraft if we have people working in handcraft, we just need to develop our activities and they can come and buy what we are developing in Africa”.
The CEO Celestin Ngirabakunzi emphasised on that although the pandemic created a challenge in the learning discourse, but it also provided an opportunity to have or offer short course programs to students to shorten the period of learning and as well giving them the necessary skills to create business and job creation.
“An opportunity to have those innovations it is where for example we are saying after having these short course programs students may for example meet some companies and organizations that will be linked to for being practical and even, we also thinking how to connect our students to the marketplace, how they can start their business, how they can work on job creation. After completion of these short course programs students will not only be linked to the marketplace, but they will also be linked to mentors and coachers who will train them practically to start jobs without taking much time. This is where we are seeing as solutions in these short courses”.
On the second day of the meeting, we had Dr Dimakatso Mawela President and Founder of Women of Value Africa, focusing on the practical and necessary interventions that could be used to fighting unemployment in Africa. Dr Mawela stated that to tap into those opportunities we need to be ready and need skills development and that currently Africa needs entrepreneurship.
“For us to then tap into the opportunities that are there we need to be ready we need to be skilled enough we need those entrepreneurships. We need to bring this skill through this short course, there’s quite a lot that can be adopted whereby they can be the one to train our people…”.
The Chancellor of Revealed Word University Mr. Joshua Baker looked at the role of universities and faith-based organizations in lifting Africa from poverty.
“Ground the people we train in the word of God so that they can stand up and take the word and spread it, our job is to take the word out to the world and change the world with the word of God”.
HRH Princess Debbie Dineo Raphuti Africa President of World Women Leading Change discussed the contributions of women in new businesses in stabilising life after covid19 in Africa. The president mentions the value of women in society in impacting change through education.
“We connect women from all works of life, we bring down barriers hindering women’s growth, we motivate, we inspire, we mentor, and we rise, and we thrive together that is what we do in our sector. The most important thing in our sector it is education. In order to transform society, we should be able to enable them to get education and we must skill them”.
Dr. Patrice Habinshuti Director of Academics, Research and Quality Assurance and Lecturer of RWU explored at the immediate practical short course skills necessary for the restoration and initiation of new business in Africa.
“Covid19 yes, it is disrupted our lives everyone was affected in a way or another our jobs our businesses. we have had people who had start-ups and they were obliged to close the doors. We have seen those who had ideas to start but they have never started, that’s mostly what covid19 has done but also the beauty of the experience that we had had is that there has been another way of working, another way of looking at. We have seen that they can be flexible learning and assessment options that we can adopt from high-tech to low-tech solutions and even non-tech solutions that are dictated by local context and evolving as the crisis is unfolding. There are a lot of public and private stakeholders who with whom we can forge partnerships to increase availability of accessible to distance learning to solutions to develop new training programs and allocate additional resources of mitigating skills and labour shortages”.
Mr. Cuthbert Ncube Executive Chairman of African Tourism Board discussed on the tourism impact of social economic development and the new ways in restoration of dying business in Africa, essentially rebranding the future of tourism and education of Africa to strengthen our resilience against any unpredictable pandemics.
“Promoting our regional, promoting our domestic tourism as a coping mechanism that is through empowerment of our people through the programs that will definitely integrate our African brothers and sisters in the practical world of commerce. These programs that are being offered will surely empower us prepare and ignite within us that positive mind that will always propel and prepare for a rebound within the sector”.
The final speaker Mr. Jean Pierre Ntuyimana Administrative Assistant in RWU and Managing Director of Webber Trading and Consulting Services Company Ltd, concluded by looking at the role of job creation innovation and the role of financial institutions and university. He discussed on how as part of job creation we can involve financial institutions focusing on agribusiness and agro-industry, construction, mines, marine and oil and gas.
“After identification of partner programs, identification of pilot units, technologies, financial institutions, the university will identify partners The university can assist promotion, in the development of business plan which proves that the projects are technically feasible and financially profitable to meet the support of financial institutions. These short courses will have a great impact as beneficiaries and will be well equipped with the necessary tools”.
By Kazeem Balogun
Kazeem Balogun is the Managing Editor of Kalo Africa News.