This week, Uganda ICT Association released a statement in which it urged the organisers of the eLearning Africa Conference – happening at Speke Resort, Munyonyo, Kampala, starting Wednesday – to consider a fees structure that would cater for even those that can’t afford the preset fees.

Last evening, eLearning Africa founder, Rebecca Stromeyer released the following statement:

eLearning Africa is a unique international conference, which provides a forum for education and ICT professionals, analysts and investors to come together to discuss the role technology can play in improving education. Every year the conference is held in a different African country. This year the conference is being held in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and over 1,300 people from at least 65 different countries will take part.

Organising and staging a conference of this size and importance is a complicated and expensive undertaking. The event is not supported by any single donor organisation and the funding for it comes from a variety of sources. As the conference organiser, ICWE invests a considerable amount of time, effort and money in seeking out sources of funding. The fees that participants pay to attend the conference are also a source of funding for the event and contribute to its sustainability.

However, we do realise that many of those most likely to benefit from the numerous opportunities for knowledge exchange, professional development and networking are unable to afford these fees.

This is why, every year, we organise a variety of subsidies, scholarships, fee waivers and discounts. Details of our scholarships and subsidies have been available on the conference website since its launch. They have also been promoted extensively via a variety of networks, stakeholder groups and via social media.

We have worked particularly hard this year to encourage and facilitate Ugandan participation in the conference. So far, 462 Ugandans have registered to attend the conference, of whom 305 have received a full subsidy and 76 have received a partial subsidy. The conference programme also includes 83 speakers from Uganda, all of whom have been awarded either a substantial discount or a full subsidy. In addition to this, 44 Ugandan teachers have been invited to attend a special pre-conference workshop to exchange experiences and knowledge about e- and mLearning.

This year over 85 per cent of advance registrations for the conference have been made by citizens of African countries. To date we have just over 1,200 registrations and of these 417 participants have been given free access to the event, and 301 have been partially subsidised. This also includes 31 people from all over Africa, who work in education at “grass-roots level” and whose international travel, local transport and accommodation costs have been fully covered by the eLearning Africa Scholarship Trust.

The costs associated with attendance at the conference by participants in receipt of scholarships or subsidies have been covered by our organisation, which has involved substantial financial support.

For those unable to attend the conference in person, many of the conference materials are available free of charge online. All the abstracts submitted to the conference are available online from our resource library, which is accessible here with the password ELA14.

We remain firmly committed to promoting and facilitating the widest possible participation at this unique event. We welcome both offers of support for our initiatives to encourage participation and suggestions as to
how our programme of scholarships might be extended.

Yours sincerely,

Rebecca Stromeyer
Founder, eLearning Africa