The World Bank's Africa Virtual University Project: a revisit Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose The main purpose of using technology in the delivery of virtual learning programs in higher education in Africa is to ensure access and equity as a strategy to develop human resources. Examining how specific educational innovations in higher education are working is necessary. The purpose of this study is to examine the World Bank ' s education policies in Africa with special focus on AVU Kenyatta University Project. In addition, the paper seeks to critically examine the use of information technology (IT) distance learning project initiated by the World Bank in Kenya. The project served as an important pioneering role to eLearning in Africa. Design/methodology/approach To achieve the primary purpose of the study, a critical analysis of relevant literature was conducted. The literature search included computerized search of accessible and available material on AVU and distance education in Africa. Findings The results of the study show that AVU ' s design and implementation in Africa was initially flawed like many other World Bank education projects. While distance learning should lower costs of higher education, this was not the case. The AVU project was initially faced with challenges, but, over a period of 16 years, the Africa Region is now considered one of the most dynamic e-learning markets on the planet. The continent has witnessed increased digitization of universities, booming enrollment in online higher education and the rapid adoption of self-paced learning. Research limitations/implications The concept of virtual learning if appropriately applied could be of great benefit to universities and students in Africa. Thus, design and implementation of innovations in education should be grounded in the relevant theories of learning and should involve educational experts. Originality/value There are limited studies that focus on the issues of access, efficiency, equity and use of innovative technologies in the design and successful delivery of virtual learning courses in African universities, hence the importance of this study.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Nafukho, F. M., & Muyia, M. H.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Nafukho, Fredrick M||Muyia, Machuma Helen

editor list (cited editors)

  • Nafukho, F.

publication date

  • January 2013