The University of Cape Coast (UCC) is to run a Masters' programme in
Telecommunications Physics in collaboration with the International
Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) (http://www.ictp.trieste.it), and
Ghana Telecom. This was made public at the opening ceremony of a
two-week workshop held in the university to train technicians on the
"Use of Radio in Computer Networking" held from Aug. 31 to Sep 11 in
Cape Coast. The programme which could take off (as early as) next
academic session is primarily aimed at addressing the problem of
shortage of skilled man-power in the IT industry in Africa, and is to
also serve as a regional centre for excellence in telecommunications
physics. In preparation for the programme, a Radio Networking
Laboratory was outdoored during the workshop. The ICTP which has been
assisting many developing countries to train personnel and set up
networks, provided the equipment for the new Radio Networking
The workshop was attended by some fifteen participants from various
academic and research organisations in Ghana, with an additional four
participants from other parts of Africa - Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria
Linux Rules again!
During the workshop, participants were introduced to Linux - first, with
material from user point of view and then from a sysadmin point of
view. While a number of the participants had already had some Unix
exposure, some were encountering it for the first time(!) - but by the
end of the workshop were adequately comfortable with it - I call it zero
to sixty in 10 seconds! Next they were taken through basics of
networking and all the good stuff about TCP/IP with enough background to
absorb the material that followed - setting up radio networks.
The participants were introduced to Spread spectrum technology and how
it could be used to link up a campus of LANs. For this, hands-on
exercises requiring participants to slowly replace their wired network
links with wireless components. By the end of the first week, the
laboratory which had till then been completely wire-based, had been
segmented into four independent LANs linked by spread spectrum radio.
To make it even more interesting and to demonstrate some applications, a
network was set up between the old site and the new site of the
university and a video conference held among the participants.
Subsequently, other interesting wireless technologies were explored,
including packet radio. A really neat exercise involved interfacing a
hand-held GPS unit to a computer and packet radio in a van, and in the
lab, a packet radio and a PC running WinGPS to track the movement of
the van around the campus. The participants were truly thrilled!
Telecoms in Africa in the year 2000.
A one-day seminar on the Role of Telecoms in Africa in the year 2000 was
also held to close the workshop. The seminar brought together all the
key players in the Telecoms field in Ghana as well as international
experts to rub minds on the topic.
Among the pressing issues discussed were:
1. The effects of deregulation on telecoms operators. In particular,
that it appears the "Internet model" (where capacity providers are
distinct from service providers) would eventually be the order of the
day for telecoms operators according to Prof. Repici of Telecom Italia.
2. "Don't Go it Alone!" This was the core message in Prof. Zongo's
presentation - emphasising the need for cooperation between telecom
players, nationally, regionally and continent-wide including the need
for cooperation in manpower development, by strengthening regional
centres for excellence and the universities.
3. The need for development of human resources. A long debate ensued
between the academia and industry participants as to their respective
roles in producing competent IT specialists. The Deputy Minister of
Communications (Commander Griffith) identified the need for human
resource development and said that the new Communications policy (which
will come out of the October communications policy conference) would
place a strong emphasis on it.
4. Universities should make their needs known to Industry and Industry
should take their research problems to universities...
The chairman of the occasion, Dr. Nii Quaynor, concluded the discussion
by urging participants (academia and industry) to continue "talking"
about the needs, challenges, and opportunities.
For more information on contact: Daniel Obuobi, Coordinator of the
Computer Centre, University of Cape Coast, at [log in to unmask]
Kofi ARTHIABAH Tel:+233-21-774495
Technical Assistant Mobile:+233-24-310256
Association of African Universities Fax:+233-21-774821
P. O. Box 5744 e-mail:[log in to unmask]
Accra North, Ghana [log in to unmask]