The University of the Western Cape (UWC) welcomed the first students to enrol in its NetTel@Africa Masters Programme at a gala dinner held in Johannesburg last week.

NetTel@Africa is a new masters and postgraduate diploma programme in telecoms and ICT policy and regulation for Africa. According to UWC, the first group of scholars are registered at the University of Western Cape, the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and the University of Zambia. The UWC says that this is a historic step forward in many respects, as it is the first trans-national, multi-institutional degree programme of its kind.

Says Prof Brian O’Connell, rector of UWC: "At this critical stage of our quest for enhancing our capacity, the mutual support of a community of scholars and friends is indispensable. NetTel@Africa is a good example of using technology creatively to help to build that community."

Dr Maria A. Beebe, Global Networks Director, Centre to Bridge the Digital Divide, Washington State University, says: "The collaborative programme represents several breaks from the past. The development of courses has been African-led, with a supporting role played by US academics and input provided by practitioners. The courses were peer reviewed by both Africans and Americans, the eLearning delivery itself represents a break from the traditional way of teaching. The online learning management system was developed by UWC, and is 100% made in Africa; and the first scholars are practitioners from government ministries, the regulatory body, and the private sector, and will have the opportunity to interact via discussion forums with other practitioners from Africa as well as from the US."

NetTel@Africa was established when the Telecommunications Regulators Association of Southern Africa (TRASA) identified the need to build capacity in telecoms policy and regulation.

The NetTel@Africa postgraduate diploma and masters consists of ten course modules and a thesis or equivalent. A postgraduate diploma is possible after one year of full time or equivalent study. The masters degree will take an additional year, and requires three further advanced modules or equivalent and the submission of a thesis.

Organisations involved in this collaborative effort include: United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Telecommunications Regulatory Association for Southern Africa (TRASA), US National Association of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (NARUC), The Universities of Botswana, Dar es Salaam, Fort Hare, Unisa, the Western Cape, the Witwatersrand, Zambia, Makerere University, The African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute, The Universities of Colorado, Florida and Maryland and the Washington State University.

ICT World

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