King's lectures streamed to students in Zimbabwe
King’s is taking part in an initiative which aims to support higher education capacity in Zimbabwe, where there is a significant shortage of academic staff and learning resources.
Launched by the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) in 2009, the programme aims to involve the Zimbabwe diaspora and others in strengthening the education system and tackling the country’s critical staff shortages. As one of the partner institutions, King’s will have the ability to stream its lectures to the University of Zimbabwe’s College of Health Sciences via the new virtual learning centre, funded by CARA and Econet Wireless.
From the autumn term, students sitting in the University of Zimbabwe’s virtual learning centre will be able to view live lectures from the first two years of the medical programme taking place in King’s main lecture hall. In order to supplement gaps in their curriculum, staff at the University will view the King’s timetable and select sessions which they feel will be beneficial, at no extra cost to either institution. Students will also have access to the King’s virtual campus and resources such as slides and case studies. The virtual learning centre will also be able to facilitate 2-way discussions on any topics including case discussions and diagnosis and treatment options which will benefit King’s students.
“We are very pleased that CARA has provided the opportunity to extend the links between King's and the University of Zimbabwe. We hope that lecturers at King's will help to supplement the material available to Harare students until their own resources are re-established” - Professor John Rees, King’s College London.
King’s has longstanding relations with Zimbabwe. In 2006, then KCL medical student Kirsten Scott started "Project Zimbabwe", a student branch of Zimbabwe Health Training Support (ZHTS), a diaspora organisation based in London. It has now expanded, involving many different year groups of KCL medical and non-medical students who have visited Zimbabwe and worked on projects relating to sexual health, medical education and mental health
King’s is also partnered with the University of Zimbabwe through the Medical Education Partnerships Initiative (MEPI). The MEPI program will support medical education and research in Sub-Saharan African institutions to increase the quantity, quality and retention of graduates with specific skills addressing the health needs of their national populations. Dr Melanie Abas of the Institute of Psychiatry, KCL, is co-ordinating King’s input into the ‘Improving Mental Health Education and Research Capacity in Zimbabwe' program as part of the MEPI initiative (http://www.kingshealthpartners.org/news/view/75).
The King’s Centre for Global Health coordinates three other King’s programmes that aim to strengthen health professions education in Africa (in Zambia, Sierra Leone and Somaliland) and has a particular research interest in the role of Information and Communications Technology in Global Health.