In a visionary move the veterinary schools in sub-Saharan Africa have joined forces to create an Internet-based training programme that will allow vets to study for postgraduate degrees while continuing to work.
The African Universities Veterinary E-Learning Consortium, launched in early March, will create online courses for vets unable to attend full-time degrees, reported the SciDev.net science-for-development network.
African vets urgently need extra training, but few have the necessary time or money, says Keith Sones, a Kenya-based animal health specialist who has worked in Africa for 32 years.
Postgraduate training for vets in Africa is currently limited to traditional full-time, residential courses.
The consortium will develop online programmes in collaboration with the African Virtual University and the University of Edinburgh in Britain.
These will include masters, PhD degrees, and "continuing professional development" courses, SciDev reported.
"These new learning opportunities will be beneficial for both public and private vets," says Sue Welburn of the University of Edinburgh.
"Learners will be able to select from a wide variety of options to tailor the programme to meet their professional needs. The part-time and online nature of this programme makes it especially suitable for working professionals, rurally based participants and women."
Initially, courses will be available in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.