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OU predicts increase in lifelong learning in Middle East and North Africa

An OU report has identified a significant increase in online learning in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) over the next 10 years.

Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Professor of Learning Technology and Communication, and Giles Mohan, Professor of International Development, directed a research project to better understand the potential of and hindrances to, online learning in the MENA region.

The project’s findings are outlined in the report: Online learning in tertiary education in the Middle East and North Africa, which was launched by the OU on Wednesday 28 November 2018 to mark World Access to Higher Education Day, a platform to raise global awareness around inequalities in access and success in Higher Education.

Professor Kukulska-Hulme said: “Online learning has opened up education to millions of people around the globe. It connects disparate communities and provides amazing opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue and exchange.”

The report highlights the fact that, while the MENA region values face-to-face learning, online learning is becoming more acceptable and is particularly attractive to women, and to refugee populations, which tends to be a younger demographic frustrated by lack of opportunities.

A key recommendation is for context to be considered given the differences between countries in the MENA region. The need for the region to invest in teacher training and in appropriate content design is also highlighted, as is the need for access to technology in some of the more rural areas.

“It is expected that the lifelong learning trend will become dominant in the MENA region in the next 10 years, with individuals needing to keep updating their skills and knowledge to remain relevant in the job market,” Professor Kukulska-Hulme added. “There will be a demand for open and blended degree programmes as well as certificates and diplomas. Online qualifications are already often recognised for professional training and private tuition but increasingly they need to be recognised for degree studies. “

Find out more:

Full report: Online learning in tertiary education in the Middle East and North Africa

Further reading: Need for better online resources for refugees and asylum seekers

Read about OU research in International Development and Inclusive Innovation and Technology Enhanced Learning.


About Author

Hannah is part of the Media Relations Team at The Open University, working with the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. With experience both agency and in-house, Hannah has worked on campaigns for a number of large corporate companies and brands, including RBS, NatWest, Travelodge, Audible, AA and the Royal Academy of Dance. She has completed a Masters in Publishing Studies from Oxford Brookes and is currently studying towards a DipHE in Computer, IT and Design. In her free time she enjoys photography, reading and going to the theatre.

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