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AFRIK-IT  May 1999

AFRIK-IT May 1999

Subject:

Re: Jos Magic

From:

rmdunn <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Tue, 4 May 1999 08:43:17 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (49 lines)

Hi Kathryn and greetings  Afik-ITes.

> Imagine a university computer laboratory with perhaps 30
> workstations, fully networked via a fiber campus backbone with full
> Intranet access plus Internet mail, requiring only a pipe to the Internet
> for global Web access.  Fill the room with undergraduate students
> (yes!) working on term papers, spreadsheet assignments, and
> multimedia experiments.  A small cluster of students wait at the door
> for their appointed time of access.  A lab monitor tells those at the
> workstations when their own time is up to make room for the
> newcomers.  A generator chugs in the background to keep things
> going.
>

This is an all too familiar setup at most African Universities. In South
Africa things are somewhatmixed. The HDI (historically disadvantaged
institutions) experience this although
there are changes taking place but slowly! Funding is the most important issue
here. Ther are
classes where students just cannot attend as there is no machine. So this has
resulted in classes
going on to evenings and weekends. The students don't mind this all, being at
campus half the day
on a Saturday attending lectures. Some cases this is the only time that such a
lecture is available.
Now what about the lecturers, well all out there who are lecturers, you know
the score - dedication!

> I'm sure such undergraduate labs exist in many places in Africa, but
> most of the ones I've seen are monopolized by faculty and perhaps a
> few very senior graduate students.  Many computers I've seen in
> African universities spend most of their hours as what one American
> staff member at Jos calls "virtual fish tanks," with colorful aquatic
> screensavers occupying the CPUs in empty offices as their lecturers
> are away in class.
>

This paragraph above is so common. I've known of  lecturers who NEVERused
their machines until they were outdated! These did'nt even get to become
'virtual fish tanks',
the lecturer was too 'busy' to learn how to switch it on. In some cases,
lecturers who need the
machine cannot use the machine as the 'owner' cannot leave his/her office
unlocked. This is
while a colleague is there using the machine. I guess the white elephant needs
protection.

Rodney

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