Developing the online university in Africa

Since 2013, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne has been rolling out its cooperative Africa MOOCs program. Its objective? To improve the quantity and quality of higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in African universities, thanks to “Massive Open Online Courses.” A cutting-edge 100% digital program supported by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations.

The challenge


million young workers enter the labour market each year in Africa

60 %

of unemployed Africans are younger than 25 years old

only 7%

of young Africans gain post-secondary education

In Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal, as well as in other French-speaking African countries, the number of students, despite being low, exceeds the infrastructure capacity of existing universities. Teachers are too few and often lack the proper qualifications and equipment. In order to bypass these pitfalls and resolve the skills gap that is weighing heavily on the employability of African students, MOOCs4DEV is putting forward an ambitious project consisting in the development and distribution of free online courses in collaboration with local teachers.


Our ambition

Providing high-level training to the next generation of African students by encouraging the use of MOOCs in local universities. This is the primary aim of the cooperative project, which seeks to make a sustainable impact on the African higher-education sector and become a professional and entrepreneurial stepping stone for graduates.

Develop a broad array of MOOCs

covering Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral degrees as well as accredited vocational training

Train teachers in education ICTs

so that they are able to develop their own online teaching tools and benefit from the associated educational engineering

Improve the professional integration of graduates

By training more students with high added-value content and practices to allow them to fulfil the needs of the labour market

Our solutions

Online courses

The development of a catalogue of MOOCs (initial courses & continued vocational training) ready to be rolled out to teachers and students alike


Possibility of approving the completion of MOOCs by means of study credits or a MOOCs accreditation if the entire training course has been completed successfully

Skills transfer

The creation of techno-pedagogical facilities to conceive and develop collaborative MOOCs adapted to regional needs and which are also open to universities in bordering countries

Employability & Entrepreneurship

Business-venture support for African graduates through the availability of education ICTs and advice on strengthening their business models



students enrolled on the African continent


MOOCs created


local teachers trained in e-learning teaching methods


African partner academic institutions

“MOOCs constitute a broad expansion and ongoing improvement in training for us. They also allow teachers to hone their teaching methods. It is important that we challenge our ways.”

Kouassi Benjamin YAO
Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Ivory Coast

The way forward

  • Strengthen the cooperation between universities in the ​developed and developing countries as well as between insitutions in the Global South  to ensure innovational education projects are accessible to the greatest possible number of people
  • Allow young, African talents to solidify their skills in sciences, urban planning, engineering & technology which are all sought by local economies.
  • Develop the production of collaborative MOOCs that are 100% African.
  • Complete the development of an assessment module for our MOOCs that is focused on helping students garner experience and skills and provide a true professional stepping stone for African students.

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