Open and Distance Learning: The Continental Education Strategy for Africa and The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) Engagement


  • Elifas Tozo Bisanda


Synchronous learning, Asynchronous learning, Open Distance Learning, Online learning


Access to quality higher education in Africa, remains the main challenge for educators, policy makers and political leaders. The required workforces needed for industrialization of African countries South of the Sahara cannot be realized without parallel investments in education, particularly technical and science-based institutions of higher learning.

The United Nations SDG number 4 “aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Distance education has been identified as the right strategy for achieving this goal, due its ability to accommodate many learners at an affordable cost. The recent technological advances in ICT have helped to shrink the distances, bringing learners closer to the school and to one another, while making distance education cheaper. The recent Covid-19 pandemic that led to closure of many schools, has propelled online learning to unimaginable levels, with more learners now opting to online learning instead of classroom- based instructions.

The African Council for Distance Education (ACDE), strives to ensure easy access to higher education, that is of high quality. Through its interventions, many lifelong learning opportunities have been made available through its member institutions, while gaining the momentum necessary to have its influence in those countries that are yet to embrace distance and online learning. Thus, the continent is set to meet the deadline for attaining the SDG 4, where higher education will be available to all, including those from marginalized and disadvantaged communities.


Author Biography

Elifas Tozo Bisanda

Vice Chancellor, Open University of Tanzania


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How to Cite

Bisanda, E. T. (2022). Open and Distance Learning: The Continental Education Strategy for Africa and The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) Engagement. West African Journal of Open and Flexible Learning, 10(2), 11–20. Retrieved from



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