Challenges in Teaching Geosciences in West-Africa
University teachers in West Africa are generally subject to enormous constraints in teaching students at all levels. This is particularly true in all natural sciences subjects including the Geosciences, which demand mobility for field training, analytical facilities and equipment. In addition, the scarcity of textbooks or standard sample sets available to describe the geological characteristics of the region engenders a substantial barrier for teaching in Geosciences. Amongst other constraints, the general inadequacy of national and international support has also meant that it has not been possible for university professors to pool their resources at sub-region scale, even though they often work on similar problems. Finally, access to high-speed network infrastructures has progressed only very recently.
The “Geology Open On-line Courses – West Africa” (GEOLOOC-WA) is contributing to the enhancement of knowledge-sharing in Geosciences by building a regional training network with special emphasis on African geology and related topics including best practices for exploration and extraction of natural resources and minerals, environmental issues, engineering geology and water resources. The GEOLOOC-WA action will augment the capacity of West African academics to provide quality graduate level courses that reflect the latest state of the art in science, applied to and drawn from the specific geological problems found in the sub-region. It will emphasize local content, based especially on Africa’s geological and cultural legacy. The development of a web portal for the Geosciences in West Africa will also facilitate the application of recent scientific advances to the local geological contexts, and hopefully will make the most talented students aware of the rapidly evolving frontiers in geosciences.
- Intensification of academic exchanges between African Universities and International partners
- Establishment of leading centres in Africa for the development of on-line resources in geosciences
- Evolution of teaching practices and enhanced capacity for the delivery of high-level course content
- Reduction of discrimination and social or gender disparities for access to knowledge.
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