ICT FOR TEACHING, LEARNING, AND RESEARCH
A Bit of ICT History
The six Partnership
countries run the gamut in terms of their ICT capacity, as do
the universities represented at the meeting. Some are located
in countries with considerable ICT infrastructure, such as South
Africa, while the Nigerian universities are just now recovering
from decades of neglect. Universities in all of the Partnership
countries have been at the forefront of ICT development and utilization
in their countries. Some historical information may be in order
In 1995, the Balme
Library of the University of Ghana, Legon, became responsible
for a nationwide Fidonet store-and-forward email system, which
was funded through the PADIS. This network was one of the first
became the second country in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South
Africa to achieve full Internet connectivity when Eduardo Mondlane
University (UEM) went online in 1995 with a connection to Rhodes
University in South Africa. UEM was the only Internet Service
Provider (ISP) in Mozambique for several years. UEM has also been
closely involved with the government in establishing a national
ICT policy; university staff were responsible for workshops in
every province in Mozambique to explain the draft policy and to
get input from local communities. UEM has been at the forefront
of Mozambique’s telecenter movement as well.3
history of Internet in Nigeria is spotty and anecdotal, but two
or three Nigerian universities stand out as trailblazers. As early
as 1990, McMaster University in Canada helped the University of
Ilorin Faculty of Health Sciences obtain email capability. The
method was simple, and it worked—twice a week someone from
McMaster called the Ilorin Computer Centre to establish voice
contact, after which data transfer took place. Thus, the Faculty
of Health Sciences was able to send and receive email messages.4
In addition, one of the first broadbased email points established
in Nigeria was through the Yaba College of Technology in 1993,
thus providing users willing to dial in to Yaba with email access.
first “ping,” i.e., the first time a true online Internet
connection was established, was in 1992 at Rhodes University.
Rhodes University is also noteworthy because it was the first
gateway for UNINET, South Africa’s research and academic
network, and because it also permitted universities in southern
Africa to use the gateway at no cost.5
Tanzania, the first email system was established at the University
of Dar es Salaam Medical College through HealthNet; a second email
node was placed on the main campus through the same IDRC-funded
project that supported Makerere University’s early email
efforts. The university then started to provide email services
to the university community, the government, and other users.
This was followed by full Internet in 1995.
Email had its start in Uganda in 1991, when Makerere University
joined a project supported by IDRC to provide FIDONET email capability
to university computer centers in five African countries. MUKLANET
served e mail users inside and outside of the university community
until other forms of access became available in Uganda.6
Opoku-Mensah, Team Leader, Promoting Information Technology
for African Development, UNECA
are the policy-makers and should create an enabling environment,
and the policy makers need to develop an awareness of the
importance of ICT. This is not always the case. Universities
can help their countries prepare for ICT. They should participate
in national policy reviews by conducting policy and bandwidth
universities in the Partnership countries have been ICT leaders
in many ways, they have not always played roles in the articulation
of national ICT planning. Some have, of course, and Mozambique
stands out in this regard.Because this is such a critical issue
to national development, the place of universities at the “policy-making
table” came up for sustained analysis several times during
the workshop and is discussed in more detail in the next chapter.
participants were asked to prepare background material on the
status of ICT in their countries, universities and consortia before
the meeting. (Go to Appendix Three
for a list of topics that each university was asked to provide.)
The tables below are a consolidation of the information participants
provided together with data from the Internet Connectivity Web
site maintained by Mike Jensen and the Africa Information Society
Initiative (AISI). The sections on the South African Research
Network, AAU, and IUCEA are also based on materials participants
prepared for the meeting. A selection of these reports will be
found on the Partnership Web site. AISI’s home page on national
ICT status and planning is located at http://www.uneca.org/aisi/nici/Default.htm.
The Jensen site is at http://www2.sn.apc.org/africa/.
at the National Level
Planning and Capability
government of Ghana is in the process of formulating its national
ICT policy and is also drawing up action plans for implementation.
There are eight commercial Internet service providers in Ghana,
with dial-up service to local telephone numbers in six cities
outside of Accra. Users outside of these locations must make
a trunk call to Accra for access to the Internet. The University
of Ghana is also coordinating a national universities network,
which is not yet fully operational. In addition, there are
over 150 Internet cafés in the country, approximately
90 percent of them in Accra.
government of Mozambique approved a National Information Policy
in December 2000. There are about ten commercial ISPs, but
only a few of them have national coverage. Those that do,
offer local dial-up service in nine cities in addition to
Maputo. Eduardo Mondlane University also offers a not-for-profit
Internet service, but users must dial in to Maputo. There
are numberous Internet cafés, particularly in Maputo,
and two telecenters, which serve as community access points.
government of Namibia recently ratified a National ICT policy,
which promotes universal access to the Internet and the utilization
of ICT. To that end, Telcom Namibia recently introduced a
new national dial-up number series, known as “Internet
calls,” with a charge of 20 percent less than the normal
local tariff. ISPs have made use of this service to extend
their connectivity to any point in the country where there
is a telephone line. This means that Internet connectivity
in Namibia is now nationwide. There are currently four ISPs
that offer ISDN connectivity at either 64k or 128k, as well
as the more common analogue (56k) connection. One ISP offers
broadband connectivity via satellite, making use of the customer’s
DSTV (satellite TV) dish and an additional card that connects
the satellite decoder to the PC. The University of Namibia
was the first institution in Namibia to be connected to the
the government of Nigeria produced a National Policy on Telecommunications
in 1998, there is no national ICT policy yet. The National
Communications Commission (NCC) has licensed 38 ISPs, but
only 12 are active; they provide dial-up services in six cities
in addition to Lagos. Of all of the Partnership countries,
Nigeria is the most handicapped in terms of its ICT infrastructure,
including unreliable telephone lines and electrical power.
Africa is among the top 20 countries in the world when ranked
by the number of Internet nodes. The number of users in South
Africa is about 30 times larger than Egypt, the next largest
African country in terms of Internet. South Africa is also
noteworthy because it has full Internet capability throughout
the country. There are ten "top level" ISPs with
their own leased lines and numerous "second-level"
ISPs that rent bandwidth from a "top level" provider.
South Africa has dial-up services throughout the country.
South Africa also has advanced data service capability-ISDN,
GPRS, and Frame Relay. South Africa's universities are networked
through the Tertiary Education Network (TENET).9
reformed and deregulated the telecommunications sector in
1993. A number of workshops have been held under the UNECA
National Information and Communications Infrastructure (NICI)
framework; a draft National ICT Policy for Tanzania was produced
in April 2002 and published on the Ministry's Web site for
public comment. Subsequently, in 2003, the policy document
was adopted as a government white paper. There are 11 commercial
ISPs, including one on Zanzibar island, with dial-up services
in Dar es Salaam and major cities. Services are being planned
for towns without Internet. The University of Dar es Salaam
is also an ISP.
adopted a Telecommunications Sector Policy in 1996 and passed
a Telecommunications Act in 1997. UNDP is supporting work
on creating an ICT National Policy. A draft policy has been
completed and will be tabled before Cabinet for adoption.
There are five major Internet Service Providers in three cities—Kampala,
Jinja, and Mbarara. Uganda also has advanced data service
capability—ISDN and DSL lines.
home pages and ICT
of the universities participating in the workshop have home
pages, with details on the university, admissions, faculties
and departments. Some of them also provide detailed information
on ICT strategic planning and implementation. Makerere,
es Salaam, and Eduardo
Mondlane are three universities that use their Web sites
for this purpose.
With the exception
of South Africa, ICT implementation in Partnership countries began
before strategic plans were written. In most instances, email
was the first development, followed by other applications. Of
the Partnership universities, Eduardo Mondlane University took
the lead, followed soon thereafter by the University of Dar es
Salaam. Makerere University learned from the experience of the
first two. In turn, the University of Namibia has benefited from
Makerere. Informal networks are growing, with one university helping
The table below summarizes
the ICT status of universities participating in the workshop.
plans are incorporated into Bayero University’s overall
strategic plan. The university established a small Local Area
Network (LAN) in 1997/98, with three computers, one of which
was used by the entire university to send and receive email.
Since then, the university has installed several LANs, and
email capacity has improved considerably. The university has
two Internet cafés. One has a dial-up connection; the
other is connected to the ISP with a wireless link. One café
has 56Kbps capacity, the other 64 Kbps. There is some networking
on campus, but no campus backbone yet.
Mondlane University, Mozambique
Mondlane University adopted its first Information Technology
Policy and Master Plan in 1992. In 1998 UEM adopted a strategic
plan that recognized ICT as an important tool for all sectors
of the university. A second ICT plan was developed in 2000.
Although it has not yet been approved officially, it is being
used as a working document. UEM has a fiber optics cable in
place on the main campus, with radio links to other university
locations. There is a VSAT on the main campus, which was due
to be upgraded in August to 1Mbps/512 Kbps. There are local
area networks in each faculty, but not each department. The
cost of the VSAT is about $12,000 a month. By switching to
a new provider, UEM will receive more bandwidth at lower cost.
Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
university has established a number of computer labs in the
main library and five other locations. Plans are underway
to install a campus backbone, when funding becomes available.
In addition, the university is planning to install a VSAT,
at a cost of $4,500 a month, for an uplink of 64Kbps and a
downlink of 512 Kbps.
University started its ICT strategic planning process only
within the last two years, but it has had the benefit of learning
from other universities in the region, such as Dar es Salaam
and Eduardo Mondlane. Overall, ICT planning has addressed
the lack of awareness within the university of the benefits
of ICT. The challenge has been to senstitize university administrators
and staff to the advantages of using ICT effectively. The
university has a 1500/786 Kbps leased Internet Point of Presence
(POP) at an annual cost of $270,000, which includes a Value
Added Tax of 17 percent, using two different national telecommunications
operators. This is currently cheaper than it would be if the
university had its own VSAT. The university has a campus backbone,
with links to each of the faculties. Not every department
has its own network, however.
Awolowo University, Nigeria
Vice Chancellor and other senior administrators have been
involved in all aspects of decision-making pertaining to ICT.
The university currently has a VSAT, with a bandwidth of 512Kbps/128Kbps,
for which it spends $153,600 annually. Plans are in place
to upgrade to a downlink of 1Mps. There is a campus backbone,
mainly wireless, and almost every department is networked.
The university teaching hospital, which is outside the main
campus, is linked to the network by radio. Faculty housing
and the conference center guesthouses are also connected.
The university has also put in place eight Internet cafés.
of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
University of Dar es Salaam went through a strategic planning
process from 1995-96. ICT was an integral part of this process,
with leadership coming from the Vice Chancellor, who chaired
the ICT Steering Committee. The head of the computer center
served as secretary and all deans and directors were represented
on the committee.
There are two international gateways; one is a backup. There
is a VSAT on campus with a bandwidth of 512Kbps/1Mbps, at
a cost of $9,500 per month. There is also a leased line, which
costs $7,800 per month for 256Kbps/512 Kbps bandwidth. The
main campus and the two college campuses have fiber optic
backbone networks connecting all buildings. One campus is
linked to the main campus by an optical fiber link, while
another campus is linked by an 11 Mbps wireless link. All
departments have local area networks. In addition, the student
residence halls on the main campus are linked to the backbone
of Ghana, Ghana
university computer center oversees implementation of ICT
on the campus with the assistance of a steering committee
chaired by the Vice Chancellor.
There is a fiber optics campus backbone, with links to some,
but not all, departments. (The library is connected to the
backbone.) There is a VSAT in place, with an uplink of 512Kbps
and a downlink of 1024 Kbps. The university pays Emperion
of Denmark a monthly payment of $10,400 for this service.
Ku-band frequency is used.
of Jos, Nigeria
at the University of Jos receives considerable support from
the university's administration, which is involved in all
facets of implementation. Jos has a VSAT, with a connection
of 64/128 Kbps, at a cost of $4,332 per month. There is a
fiber optics backbone, with some LANs. Because electricity
supply is so unreliable, Jos uses solar power as a backup
of Namibia, Namibia
University of Namibia began its strategic planning process
in October 2001, and found Makerere University's guidelines
The University of Namibia Windhoek campus uses two ISPs-one
for Internet, with a 384k leased line, and the other for email,
with a 64k leased line. Everything is routed through the Windhoek
telephone exchange. The university's other centers have 64k
leased lines to the telephone exchange closest to them; data
is then routed through the Windhoek main campus (via the Windhoek
exchange). The university also has an extensive video conference
network for its Windhoek, Neudamm, Oshakati, and Ogongo campuses.
UNAM does not yet have an ICT strategic plan, but a draft
policy is now ready for consideration by the University Senate.
There are already guidelines for the purchase of hardware,
software, and the use of the computer center.
South Africa is not
included in this table because South African universities benefit
from full connectivity through the Tertiary Education Network
The origins and birth of TENET are discussed in more detail below.
Because of the size
of Nigeria's higher education system, which is comparable to that
of South Africa, we asked our Nigerian colleagues to provide a
brief overview of Internet capacity for the sector. Among their
has a total of 52 universities—26 federal, 19 state, and
seven private universities. There are also four autonomous inter-university
of the 52 universities have registered Internet domain names,
but only nine of them have real-time full Internet connectivity—eight
of them via VSAT.
- The federal universities
at Ife, Jos, Sokoto, Benin, Calabar, Uyo, Abeokuta, and Nsukka
have VSATs. The Pan-African
University, a private university in Lagos, has a radio link
to a local ISP and a LAN on its Lagos Business School campus.
- Cost data for bandwidth
is presently available for four of the eight universities with
VSATs (Ife, Jos, Nsukka, and Sokoto). It ranges from $16-$23 per
Kbps per month.
- Bandwidth availability
is highest at Obafemi Owolowo University in Ife (with 512 Kbps
on the down link and 128 Kbps on the uplink) and lowest for Nsukka
and Benin, both of which have 128 Kbps on the downlink and 64
Kbps on the uplink.
Snapshots from Nigeria
computers at Bayero University
technical staff routinely handle hard disk problems, malfunctioning
cards, faulty monitors, power-related problems, and viruses.
All repairs are entered into a log book for future analysis.
Although the university does not yet formally involve students
in repairs, interested students sometimes find their way to
the lab to help out.
computers work when the power goes out...
the University of Jos, the computer room works, even if the
electricity goes out: a solar panel, inverters, and a battery
system can do the trick when the electricity fails.
South African Research Network
The development of academic
networking in South Africa was not without its vicissitudes. During
the period from 1985-1987, a few individual universities, most notably
Rhodes, began to experiment with dial-up email and networking on
a limited basis. Rhodes University also helped other universities
in southern Africa, such as Eduardo Mondlane University and the
University of Malawi, to go online by serving as their Internet
In 1987 South Africa's
Foundation for Research and Development (FRD) provided the initial
seed money and infrastructure to establish a research and academic
network called UNINET. UNINET served the country's tertiary sector
until its responsibilities were taken over by the Tertiary Education
NETwork (TENET) in 2001.
in South African Academic Networking
Some, but not all, universities have dial up connections
to the Internet.
1987: The Foundation for Research and Development (FRD)
provides seed money to establish UNINET.
1989-1999: UNINET establishes dial-up services for South
African and other universities in the region.
1991: UNINET establishes South Africa’s first TCP/IP
link to the Internet.
2001: UNINET closes on 31 January, and TENET takes over.
UNINET was run as a cooperative
effort among South Africa's higher education institutions (both
universities and technikons), without direct government funding.
The FRD contributed 10 percent of its budget, and UNINET members
put in the remainder. Throughout its existence, inadequate funding
to buy sufficient bandwidth hampered UNINET's ability to provide
services. This was exacerbated by the lack of support from Telkom,
South Africa's telecommunication's giant.
is owned by the higher education sector and is a non-profit
TENET acts as an agent for the higher education sector by
negotiating a single set of pricing packages and collecting
the money to pay Telkom.
costs have gone down by one third since the establishment
The planning process
for creating TENET built on UNINET's strengths and learned from
its weaknesses. Vice chancellors, senior academic administrators,
including librarians, assumed ownership of the TENET concept from
Donors assisted grantee
universities in establishing a strong and knowledgeable team to
negotiate better rates with Telkom. The universities explained to
Telkm that they stood the risk of losing further donor funding if
bandwidth did not improve because the donors would only provide
bandwidth-intensive resources if they could be used. Through the
university consortium’s education of Telkom, Telkom came to
understand that favorable treatment for higher education was in
the country’s best interest and that it would not lose money
in the arrangement. Bandwidth costs would come down, but the amount
of bandwidth purchased would increase. Telkom’s profit margin
was therefore not adversely affected by the new arrangement. Thus,
although the negotiations required a considerable time investment,
Telkom and the universities now have a good working relationship.
of African Universities
of African Universities (AAU) is a pan-African organization
that was founded in 1967 and is located in Accra. It promotes cooperation
between universities in Africa and between African universities
and the international academic community. More than 100 universities
belong to the AAU.
has recognized the importance of ICT to education for many years
and has carried out the following ICT related activities:
with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
in the organization of a workshop on Electronic Networking for
West African Universities in December 1993
of email capacity in the office of African university vice chancellors
in 1996. The goal was to provide training and connectivity to
universities without their own connections to email.
and implementation of the Database
of African Theses and Dissertations (DATAD). (DATAD is discussed
in more detail below.)
of a technical meeting of experts at the University of Dar es
Salaam in the year 2000.
• Inclusion of ICT in the AAU Core Program at the Tenth
General Conference in January 2001.
of the Dar es Salaam technical meeting report and an institutional
self-assessment guide in print and on the Web in 2001. Go to http://wwww.aau.org/english/documents/.
The Database of African
Theses and Dissertations is an AAU “core program.” Established
in 2000, DATAD is a management and dissemination tool for theses
and dissertations completed in African universities. There are currently
11 participating institutions; more will be added in phase two of
the project. Each DATAD record contains a complete citation, including
a full abstract, keywords, and local terms. Over 12,000 records
have been entered thus far. DATAD is unique—it is African
and the records are more detailed than any other bibliographic database
of theses and dissertations. DATAD is available online and on CD-ROM
for African universities in slow bandwidth countries. You will find
more information on DATAD on the AAU home page. See http://www.aau.org/datad/.
Council of East Africa
Council of East Africa (IUCEA) was established in 1970 with
the mandate of fostering higher education within the East African
Community (EAC). Its activities were adversely affected, however,
following the collapse of the EAC in the late seventies. IUCEA was
revitalized in 1998; it works with institutions of higher learning
in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and is located in Kampala.
of recreating IUCEA included a thorough analysis of its ICT requirements
and those of its members. As a first step, IUCEA carried out an
internal ICT needs assessment, which resulted in creating a local
area network, establishing a viable email system, and creating a
home page. Having met its technology needs, IUCEA began to examine
the needs of its member universities. It carried out a pilot survey
between December 2001 and February 2002 at selected universities
to assess their ICT infrastructure and future requirements. Two
universities in each member counry—Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda—were
selected. IUCEA expects to continue and to expand upon this work.
2003 Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation, the John
D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.