Congo’s Marien Ngouabi University launches staff ICT training

By Issa Sikiti da Silva

Intensive ICT training will take place this year for staff at Congo Brazzaville’s state-funded Marien Ngouabi University (UMNG).

The aim is to bridge the digital divide within the ranks of lecturers, researchers and students, the university said.

UMNG vice-chancellor Armand Moyikoua, who recently acknowledged that the university was facing electricity, internet connectivity and IT equipment challenges, said the institution’s number one priority for now was to train lecturers, students, trainers and researchers on the use of ICTs.

The training programme will enable everyone to become familiar with ICTs, he said, adding that a lot of work needed to be done in the area of digital governance for the teaching staff.

 “The year 2015 should allow us to reduce the digital divide,” he declared solemnly.

The university also faces the crunching problem of overcrowding, as over 30 000 students were reportedly attending class in 2014 in an institution built to accommodate about 15 000.

Analysts believe the overcrowding has led to a situation whereby many students do not have access to computers that are connected to the internet.

 “We are just too many of us here and it’s always packed,” one student said on condition of anonymity.

Recently, the university received about 650 computers from the Perspectives d’Avenir Foundation, chaired by the head of state’s son Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso.

The new IT equipment should help improve teaching methods  including the possibility of designing online courses, the chairman said.

Congo Telecom also helped connect the university to its fibre optic network to enable lecturers and students browse fast internet.

 

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