EPICA Final Conference

The final international EPICA Conference was held virtually on Thursday, December 10. Over 400 participants from around the world attended this lively event which was held under the overarching theme “Increasing University Graduates' Employability Chances through the Use of an Innovative ePortfolio - The Epica Initiative“.

The aim of this final conference was to highlight the highly innovative work and results of the EPICA Initiative focusing on its relevance and implications for local uptake, implementation and sustainability.

Leading experts in the African and European higher education sector as well as Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan students, teachers and employers, who formed part of the success stories collected during the EPICA Pilots in the three partner countries gave insightful presentations and inspiring talks.

The conference was chaired by Philise Rasugu, longstanding member of the African Virtual University (AVU), Kenya. Torunn Gjelsvik, Secretary General of the International Council for Open and Distance learning in Norway gave the opening speech, which was followed by a keynote address given by Dr. Bakary Diallo, Rector of the African Virtual University (AVU) on the relevance on skills for employability. Dr. Marcelo Maina from the Open University of Catalunya – UOC, shared fascinating insights on how the innovative methodologies, developed by UOC, can support a competency-based learning approach in any learning environment. This was followed by a lively interactive discussion and poll on employability skills led by Michael Opiyoh of Maseno University in Kenya.

Mr. Andrea Contino of MyDocumenta, Spain gave a live demo on the EPICA ePortfolio which was co-designed by the EPICA initiative partners. His demo was followed by a highly interactive session led by Prof. Paul Muyinda of Makerere University, Uganda, with students, teachers and employers from the three pilot countries highlighting their success stories while using the ePortfolio during the Pilot experience.

Dr. Edephonce Nfuka of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), Tanzania shared his very interesting perspectives on the benefits and advantages of using such an ePortfolio and how this enhanced and increased the visibility of OUT’s learners' skills and strengthened their employability perspectives.

Reaching the end of the conference, there was a space left for Q&A between the experts and the participants, let by Philise Rasugu as chairperson of the conference.

To conclude the event, the conference counted with the presence of Albert Nsengiyumva, Secretary General of ADEA (Association for the Development of Education in Africa) and member of the External Advisory Board of EPICA, who spoke on the relevance of the topic at the pan-African level.

Participants were given deep insights into the relevance of skills for employability and the methodology that was developed by UOC to assess and make employability skills visible. They learned how a European ePortfolio was adapted to address the needs of the African job market and heard firsthand from students, teachers and employers how the use of the ePortfolio enhanced and increased the visibility of the students’ skills.

This conference was organised by ICWE and hosted by eLearning Africa and promoted to the eLearning Africa Community of Practice. To view a recording, please follow this link.