As part of South West College’s widening participation agenda, and embracing international partnerships, South West College is committed to growing its online presence and capability. The college has moved to the next level by virtualising the college curriculum offer both nationally and internationally. One such project is the delivery of a fully online course with students in Zambia. The Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Information Technology has been delivered successfully for the past four years and the College were delighted to recently host two Zambian guests involved in the project.
Direct Aid For Africa (D.A.F.A.), a local charity, initiated a programme to target students, educate them and send them to University. Although successful, it was proving too expensive to educate them in this way and many graduates did not return to Zambia, but took jobs up elsewhere. On speaking with a former teaching colleague Liam McGrath in the charity, the College Deputy Director Michael McAlister developed an e-learning proposal. That proposal was to deliver vocational programmes that would help build up the local infrastructure in poverty stricken areas, for e.g. in Health & Social Care or Information Technology.
Michael McAllister said; “SWC was delighted to host two Zambian nationals for a period of 7 days recently. The visitors Grace (Teacher) and Phales (Student) have been linking with South West College for the past four years, as staff from SWC have been delivering a Level 3 National Diploma in I.T. through online learning. The first group of students have achieved their Level 3 Diploma and Phales in particular achieved a Distinction Grade. The Zambian students have now moved onto a Higher Education Programme (HND Computing) which is also being delivered fully online by staff from SWC”.
He added; “The Zambian virtual education programme has been life changing for the students in Zambia and the benefits to the SWC have been significant, including exposure to other world cultures and a wide ranging knowledge exchange. The programme is financially supported by DAFA (Direct Aid for Africa) and representatives from SWC and DAFA have visited Zambia to setup the programme and ensure its longevity”.
Grace Kaonga, Tutor from Zambia spoke of her delight to visit the College said; “Our visit to Ireland has been so interesting and everything was just precious. We are humbled especially as we were given a chance to meet Minister Farry, who welcomed us warmly. We would like to thank DAFA and SWC in a special way for the support rendered to the Zambian Project. Our students are performing excellently and we appreciate the knowledge imparted by the staff of SWC to them. On behalf of the Zambian Project administration, thank you so much. Blessings.”