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eGovernance Panel Session

Now a day eGovernance occupies the topmost position in the development agenda of almost all Governments in the world and lot of public money is being pumped to various eGovernance initiatives. Therefore very intelligent planning is required to produce desired returns.

eGovernance can be defined as ICT assisted Good governance. Therefore eGovernance initiatives necessarily should have all the components required for Good governance.


  • Frances Mensah
  • Jon Talbot
  • Firoze Manji
  • Olabisi Kuboni
  • Helena Fehr

Strategies for building (enhancing?) democracy, good governance and social justice using ODL

Practitioners and educators working in support of good governance practices, democracy and social justice initiatives often find themselves working in “ghettos”. This session offers an opportunity for cross-fertilization. The participants will answer the question: “democracy, good governance and social justice – what role for ODL?” They will also identify strategies and recommendations for COL on how, and where, it can help to facilitate current and new initiatives.

Five presenters will address the question from the perspective of their experiences in the country/region in which their programmes are being delivered: Namibia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa. Exploring how the transfer of learning takes place; the effect of the training and how the learners’ experience translates into action; the impact on the community in turn; and the constraints and possibilities of the application of technology in these sectors will be explored. Ultimately, it is how participants are empowered within their own communities whether the learners are citizens, local leaders at the grassroots level, from local or national governments, the social justice sector or NGOs. The session will also explore the learning experiences of the organisations/institutions in the delivery of their initiatives.

Participants: Professor Uma Coomaraswamy, Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) (tbc); Ms. Frances Ferreira, Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL); Dr. Olbaisi Kuboni, University of the West Indies Distance Education Centre (UWIDEC); Dr. Firoze Manji, Fahamu - Networks for Social Justice; Dr. Jon Talbot, Centre for Work Related Studies, University of Chester.

Session co-ordinators: Helena Fehr (and Paul West)

Session Theme

The role of ODL in relation to social justice; strategies for building governance & democracy

Session Papers/Presentations

Additional observations/thoughts from the teleconference on July 26th.

  • focus on process - capturing the experiences of how the transfer of learning takes place; emphasis on the learner's experience - what happens to the learning which the learners take away
  • thematic & methodological thread: the constraints of using technology to relay the message; what are the effective methods of using ODL to convey the message?
  • what is the effect of education and how does it translate into actin through the use of ODL as a mechanism of delivery? - that is, how do we as educators/practitioners empower our audience (people/the learners); what is the subsequent impact on the community
  • it was agreed that rather than each speaker making a presentation, we would answer the question "good governance, democracy, social justice - what role for ODL?"
  • the responses would be based on one's experience and would summarise the learnings


  • HF to write the overall abstract for the session (as above - please comment and/or make suggested changes to the wording - we are only allowed 200 words) - DONE;
  • HF to approach Professor Uma Coomaraswamy from Sri Lanka to join panel (to help ensure regional participation);
  • Each member of the team will write a short 200-word abstract in response to the question posed above (. . . what role for ODL?)for posting on the PCF4 website;
  • Structure of the session: Frances will act both as presenter and discussant - ensuring that the other members do not go off course during their presentation;
  • Further discussion (via wiki) and/or teleconferences to follow once initial postings are made
  • Suggest that each person write a short description of their programme so that everyone is clear on the context in which each presenter is working/focus of their programme and post it on the wiki.


Good governance, social justice and democracy: can ODL make a difference?

Firoze Manji, Fahamu (

Good governance, social justice and democracy all depend on active involvement of citizens in both policy and political processes. Current developments in technology provide considerable potential for enhancing active citizenship, for enabling the voices of the marginalised to be heard. ODL has too often been only about distance learning, but it is in open learning where the greatest potentials exist. Learning happens not only in the classroom (whether virtual or otherwise), but also in everyday life. This is especially true for learning that is related to governance, social justice and democracy. This presentation speaks to the experiences of Fahamu in making learning, information, debate and discussion possible where access to the internet is limited, and will examine potential role of email, CDROMs, podcasting, participatory video and other methods of developing active citizenship.

Author name: Jon Talbot (


Delivering distance learning education for modern government; the F4Gov programme at the University of Chester

The Foundation for Government (F4Gov) programme developed for the British Civil Service is an innovative low cost accredited programme of distance learning using a dedicated Virtual Learning Environment designed to improve individual and hence organisational performance. It is flexible in terms of design and delivery and enables individuals and organisations to devise learning which meets their needs. The emphasis upon theory and practice is designed to reflective practice as well as embed deeper learning associated with higher education. The content of the programme is designed to equip participants with the skills necessary to deliver modern government.

The University of Chester is anxious to talk with partner institutions who are interested in adapting the programme for their own needs

Author name: Frances Ferreira(

Good Governance, Social justice and Democracy.Can ODL make a difference?

True democracy is not possible with an uneducated people,uneducated with regard to their roles, rights and responsibilities.Democracy also means that people should be involved in government processes .The question is ; can I be involved if I do not have an appreciation of my role and reponsibilty? Can I make a meaningful contribution to good governance and social justice if I cannot identify with these words? Many governments, including Namibia's, have decentralised its functions in an effort to strenghten democracy. Unfortunately the majority of the people, in whose hands the additional responsibilty land, are not always equipped with skills and knowledge to manage government's affairs at a regional and local level.The Namibian College of Open Learning has identified this weakness and introduced a programme to provide support for the decentralisation and democratisation process in Namibia.This presentation will illustrate that ODL is the only viable option to ensure good governance, democracy and social justice.

Description of the programme offered by the Namibian College of Open Learning,(NAMCOL)

The Certificate in Local Government Studies is a one year programme offered through Distance Education with intervals of Contact Sessions with the tutors.The programme aims to provide support for the decentralisation process in Namibia. It also aims to support capacity building initiatives of regional councils and local authorities.The programme consist of 7 modules. English for general communication was specifically elected due to the fact that the official language is english, but for the majority of the population this is a second or third language.The other modules are; Regional and Local Government in Namibia, Local Democracy and Good Governance,Basics of Local Government Economics,Local Public Finance and Accounting, Regional and Local Government Administration and Introduction to Community Development.

Preparing the public sector professional for the age of e-governance: issues of course design and delivery and andragogy

Olabisi Kuboni - UWIDEC

During the period April to July, 2006, the University of the West Indies Distance Education Centre (UWIDEC) mounted its second offering of the online course, Local E-governance in the Caribbean. The course is being offered as a joint venture between UWIDEC and UNESCO, with UNESCO being responsible for the overall concept and for initial course design and development. UWIDEC has adapted the original course materials. The thirty (30) students who participated in the second offering are from countries throughout the English-speaking Caribbean. This presentation will seek to address issues related on the one hand, to the design and delivery of the course and on the other, to the learning skills required for participation in the course. With regard to the first area, it will provide reflections on the treatment of the knowledge base as well as strategies employed for course delivery. With regard to the second, it will attempt to assess the learning skills that student-participants brought to the teaching-learning experience. The presentation is based on an understanding that the aim of the course is to assist public sector professionals to assume leadership roles in a sector that is evolving and placing emphasis on good governance and the use of electronic tools for the delivery of government services and for increased interaction between people and government agencies. The presentation will reflect the collective discourse of the course delivery team, namely the course coordinator (academic leader), the tutor, the course manager and the programme coordinator.

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