Mzuzu University was established by an Act of Parliament of July 1997 as the country’s second national university. The idea was to address the issue of limited access to tertiary education in Malawi. As of 2008 Education Statistics, the two national universities have only managed to enrol 0.03% of the eligible school leavers using the face-to-face and residential delivery mode. This figure is a far-cry from the international expectation of 35% access to tertiary education of the total population. The two options for increasing and broadening access to tertiary education are expansion of the physical infrastructure for residential and face-to-face delivery mode, and offering programmes through the open and distance learning delivery mode. The first option is very expensive in terms of finance and time required. The second option sounds feasible and cost-effective. Accordingly, Mzuzu University opted for the open and distance learning delivery mode as a realistic option for increasing and broadening access to tertiary education. To this end, Mzuzu University established the Centre for Open and Distance Learning (CODL) in July 2006 to plan, prepare and coordinate offering of programmes through the open and distance learning delivery mode. The idea is to give opportunity to those qualified but not enrolled in the residential and face-to-face delivery mode to access tertiary education. Mzuzu University is planning to use a range of instructional systems including, print media, radio, television, multimedia, Internet-based media, and web-technology in delivering programmes through open and distance learning.
Rationale for the Centre for Open and Distance Learning
The Centre is established to provide opportunity for those qualified for tertiary education but cannot be enrolled in conventional institutions because of limitations of bed and teaching spaces, and also to offer opportunity for professional development and lifelong learning to various groups of people at their convenient time, pace and place.
Vision of the Centre for Open and Distance Learning
The vision of the Centre for Open and Distance Learning is to increase and broaden access to quality tertiary education in order to create an open, inclusive and informed society necessary for engaging with the numerous development challenges of Malawi.
Mission of the Centre for Open and Distance Learning
The mission of the Centre is to offer quality tertiary education, training, research and outreach; and professional development programmes to a wider population in Malawi, while at the same time responding to changing needs and emerging issues as ushered in by a rapidly changing society.
Goals of the Centre for Open and Distance Learning
The Centre for Open and Distance Learning seeks to:
- provide accessible, affordable and equitable education and training opportunities to as many people as possible
- provide opportunity for education and training to all categories of people who could not enrol with conventional tertiary education institutions
- provide an enabling environment for lifelong learning for the entire citizenry
- provide education and training that is responsive to the changing world and emerging issues
- carry out research and outreach activities that are aimed at improving the quality of life of the people
Continuing Education Programmes
The Centre for Open and Distance Learning also offers continuing education programmes for those in employment and out of school, yet seeking professional training. These courses are offered using the evening classes instructional mode. Examples of programmes offered through this mode include but not limited to:
- Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at Certificate and Intermediate levels (Examined and certified by Mzuzu University)
- Business Management at Certificate and Advanced Certificate levels (Examined and certified by Mzuzu University)
- Business Management at Certificate, Diploma Part I and Diploma Part II levels (Examined by Association of Business Executives)
- Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Management at Certificate level (Examined by Association of Business Executives)
- Human Resource Management at Diploma and Advanced Diploma levels (Examined by Institute of Commercial Management)
- Accounting at Certificate in Financial Accounting, Accounting Technician Diploma and Foundation Stage of ACCA/PAEC Joint Scheme levels (Examined by Public Accountants Examination Council of Malawi)
- Purchasing and Supply at Certificate, Advanced Certificate and Foundation Diploma levels (Examined by The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply)