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Public universities move into the digital age

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Public universities move into the digital age

As part of the Digital Transformation Acceleration Project (PATN), component 2 will involve the installation of WiFi access points on university campuses. This initiative seeks to provide students, teachers, and administrators with free connectivity. The overarching goal of the project is to enhance access to broadband internet for underserved populations while bolstering the government’s capacity to deliver public services that are tailored to digital technologies.

Digital project valued at 100 million USD

The vast technological program is supported by the World Bank, which is funding it to the tune of 100 million USD. Providing free Internet access in public universities will help develop e-learning by facilitating access to online information and teaching resources.
Congo-Brazzaville is embarking on a transformative journey towards digital connectivity within its higher education sector. With a commitment of 100 million USD from the World Bank as part of the Digital Transformation Acceleration Project, the government is allocating 10 % of this fund to connect its two public universities to broadband Internet.

Improving Internet connectivity on university campuses

Launched on April 17, 2024, under the leadership of Prime Minister Anatole Collinet Makosso, the six-month project represents a pivotal step towards addressing the inadequate internet access currently experienced by students in Congo-Brazzaville.

Both Marien-Ngouabi University, the oldest institution, and Denis Sassou-Nguesso University, the most recent addition, face a shared obstacle: a significant deficit in internet connectivity across their campuses and lecture halls, despite being situated approximately twenty kilometers apart. This shortcoming is keenly felt by the students.

« In our multimedia rooms, we face major internet problems because we often have video conference classes, but we encounter major problems. We can’t give courses because of the lack of Internet. If the government were to tackle this problem, it would greatly benefit our learning. In the 21st century, access to the Internet is indispensable », noticed one student. Another added : «We find it hard to teach courses without the Internet, because if we had reliable Internet access, it would be beneficial and make research much easier ».

For students, it’s a matter of improvisation, as a third-year plant biotechnology student at Denis Sassou-Nguesso University explained: « Students find ways to access the Internet. We activate our data packages. Here, we manage to get access to conduct research. We manage things in our own way. Sometimes we miss out on research opportunities because we can’t afford to activate an Internet package ».

Facilitating Internet access to contribute to the country’s development

The Congolese government’s connectivity plan seeks to provide broadband internet access to more than 51,000 students, aiming to address immediate challenges while laying the groundwork for a digitally proficient generation poised to drive the country’s development forward.

This commitment not only echoes global endeavors to promote digital inclusion in Africa but also underscores Congo-Brazzaville’s dedication to fostering a knowledge-based economy. By investing in the digital infrastructure of its higher education institutions, the government is paving the path for innovation, fostering research excellence, and enriching learning experiences for its forthcoming leaders.

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