An African perspective on the Tapscott and Williams article on University Reform

Tony Bates, Weblog, Mar 22, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

A sharp critique of the debate between Bates and Tapscott from Mandi Maodzwa-Taruvinga of South Africa. She reminds readers that relaities and ideals are very different in the different landscape of the South. "It would be suicidal to let the technology paradigm of the dominant north dictate to us what utopia looks like! In Africa marginalisation and underdevelopment are real and yet we ought to forge ahead with the struggle for mass higher education for the development of 'human capital' which has the capacity to learn, including learning through ICTs whatever the odds!"

Tony Bates comments, "I would be very interested to see if anyone is willing to take up Mandi Maodzwa-Taruvinga's challenge of how best to strike ‘a balance between widening access and participation, acknowledging the potentialities and possibilities of ICTs and engaging in meaningful learning, knowledge production and dissemination outside the terms of the dominance of the networked higher education society.'" But that, of course, is what the Connectivist model developed by George Siemens and myself is intended to provide. Not that we can prescribe a solution, or solve all the problems of the South. But we can create an opportunity for those who feel it is right for them.
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