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>>        `Net May Aid Africa Colleges
>>
>>         By ABEBE ANDUALEM  Associated Press Writer
>>
>>           ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - Plagued by slim budgets, broken down
>>        equipment and out-of-date and looted libraries, African universities
>>        may soon receive a lifeline from cyberspace.
>>
>>        and so on......

And then we wonder why people become sceptical of the benefits of the
Internet?!!!   Either this World Bank project was reported very
inaccurately or this is yet another example of a totally misguided attempt
at 'technology fix'.  We find it very difficult to get 3-4 universitites to
set up joint courses ('virtual campuses' - to use the jargon) within
Scotland where we have very good infrastructure (ATM + v. high bandwidth +
high ratio of machines/student, etc.), shared cultural background and
common degree structures.  Do we really expect 8 DIFFERENT countries in
Africa to pick up from course output from US/Ireland - even ignoring the
technology issues (wasn't one of the initial problems that graduates were
not suited to local job markets!?).

Let's get real!!  I know it's far from unusual but it still makes me a bit
sad to see another million dollars poured down the drain when there are so
many other much more focused/more realistic options and in many cases
potentially self-sustianing (though unfortunately for them, it would seem,
not so 'exciting') crying out for some initial funding.

Sorry to be so negative but the report/project really got to me....

___________________________________
Crawford Revie
(Senior Lecturer)
Department of Information Science
University of Strathclyde
Glasgow  G1 1XH,   SCOTLAND

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