[AfrICANN-discuss] Africas Storied Colleges, Jammed and Crumbling

Mawaki Chango ki_chango at yahoo.com
Tue May 22 05:43:39 SAST 2007


just catching up. indeed, the story is just as real as
troubling, but looked from the technological angle and context,
even more puzzling!

a few years ago, I had the privilege to coordinate a UNESCO's
distant education project (a little, pilot project) addressing
telecentre managers. we were using the Worldspace radio with a
software package called CLASS (combined live audio and slide
show). the lectures were delivered through dialup from Maputo,
Kampala and Ecuador, and the students in 5 or 6 countries
including Ethiopia, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The
class went well with synchronous communication including slides
and graphics as well as voice.

The main problem encountered was preparing the infrastucture:
setting the radio antenna in the line of sight of Afristar (the
Worldspace sattellite beam on Africa.)

That kind of technology has further developed since. Now there
are many software packages, some proprietary (and used even in
the US universities, for example) while some are open source
(which African universities could tap into). Cities like Dakar
and many other locations are well covered by Worldspace radio
(at least at the time of the project I'm referring to,
Worldspace Foundation and Francophonie seemed kin to collaborate
on education projects with this technology.) Even where radio
sattellite fails, it is possible to resort to asynchronous
systems by recording lectures on presentation slides and find a
way to distribute them effectively, etc. As AR says, at this
point (and level of education) it's first about the content. And
I don't really see what those students jamming the auditoriums
and corridors to get a bit of a course will gain in those
conditions, which they couldn't with a distance education tool.

I don't mean to say everything is easy, and will be resolved by
technology. one thing for sure, it would take or cost far less
to use it than the cost of throwing away a whole generation (in
fact, not even just one!) A bit of political attention could
achieve a lot by mobilizing the relevant sponsors and
specialized institutions to take the direction of the
technological solutions already out there.



--- Sophia B <sophiabekele at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks for sharing AR.  I don't think you are dreaming, agree
> with your
> analogy below.  Also stresses the point that the Internet
> economy if the
> future, one that should be taken seriously by our leaders';
> ...but as the Senegalese student rightfully said:  "They fear
> us because we
> are the young, and the future belongs to us", which I can
> expand to the
> diaspora as well, in agreeing with Dr. Yassin.
> Sophia
> On 21/05/07, Anne-Rachel Inné <annerachel at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Paulos,
> >
> > Nothing more than making a parallel on how most of our
> ccTLDs are in a bad
> > shape --- and keep thinking about how to improve them so
> they can help in
> > gathering and keeping content local --- maybe also think
> about how for the
> > ones working, ccTLDs managers can help establish technically
> sound networks
> > for say, online  courses and capacity building in IT at
> Universities?
> >
> > AfREN (check here on what they are doing
> http://www.afnog.org/) and AAU
> > are trying really hard with themes like sound campus
> networking and others
> > are thinking about online courses. Am I dreaming. yes :-).
> The Internet for
> > me is only worth the content it has. And here is one case
> where content on
> > networks can help I think.
> > cheers
> > ar
> >
> > On 5/21/07, Dr Paulos Nyirenda <paulos at sdnp.org.mw> wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > Pardom me BUT what is this doing on this list?  Regards,
> Paulos
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
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