International Centre for Higher Education Innovation
under the auspices of UNESCO

UNESCO-ICHEI and the Virtual University of Côte d’Ivoire join hands to promote the digital transformation of higher education

March 22, 2021
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UNESCO-ICHEI and the Virtual University of Côte d’Ivoire (UVCI) signed a cooperation framework agreement on the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) in early March 2021. This symbolises the formalisation of the partnership between the two parties, which allows for the deepening of this partnership.


UVCI is a public university established in 2015 under the trusteeship of the Ivorian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. UVCI has four main functions:
1.Provide online and distance education, award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees covering a wide range of disciplines including computing and digital sciences;
2.Support institutions offering face-to-face teaching to develop online and distance education programmes;
3.Ensure the dissemination of knowledge and scientific culture via a platform;
4.Put in place a network of national and international partners in the field of distance education.

Students learning at UVCI
Recording studio at UVCI

Spreading across the entire national territory, UVCI’s 10000 students learn continuously even in crises. Universities in Cote d’Ivoire closed their campuses and suspended face-to-face teaching in March 2020 due to the pandemic. In this context, the government of Côte d’Ivoire authorised UVCI to coordinate, support, and train university teachers so that they can conduct online and blended teaching. UVCI offered training programmes on digital pedagogy and online teaching to university teachers, established an digital assistance platform, so that learning can continue despite the closure of university campuses. Besides the academic institutions that have sought help from UVCI, other private and public organisations have also solicited UVCI’s digital expertise.

Teacher training at UVCI

IIOE is a flagship project launched by UNESCO-ICHEI in December 2019. The project aims to empower university teachers and higher education institutions in Asian and African developing countries to facilitate quality, equitable, and inclusive higher education through digital innovation. IIOE builds an ecosystem supporting the digital transformation of higher education in developing countries through teacher ICT capacity building, co-construction and sharing of online courses and training resources, and quality assurance for online and blended teaching and learning. UVCI’s participation will increase IIOE’s outreach in West Africa so that IIOE can better serve the needs of Francophone African countries.

Location of ICHEI: SUSTech Convention Center

In 2020, IIOE released English and French versions of big data in higher education training (general level), helping university teachers in Asian and African developing countries to apply big data in their teaching. The French version of the training attracted 445 participants from 24 countries, over 100 of which were from Côte d’Ivoire, ranking first in all countries. UVCI contributed 66 participants, ranking first in all Ivorian universities.

Based on the cooperation framework agreement, two parties will cooperate in the following areas:
1. Online training programmes for teacher ICT and online and blended teaching capacity-building
2. Co-construction and sharing of online education resources
3. Quality assurance for online and blended teaching
4. IIOE monitoring and evaluation
5. Co-host meetings and events on higher education digital transformation

UNESCO-ICHEI will join hands with UVCI for a cooperation based on the national context, in order to offer customised solutions for the digital transformation of higher education in Côte d’Ivoire and contribute to realising Sustainable Development Goal 4.