Ivory Coast to launch digital university in 2015
By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Ivory Coast
The government of Ivory Coast has this week announced the creation of a digital university to boost distance education online, which it said was a fundamental resource helping countries such as Ivory Coast to eradicate overcrowding at institutions of higher learning.
The Université Numérique de Côte d’Ivoire (UNCI, Digital University of Ivory Coast), which will be established with the help of l’Agence Universitaire Francophone (AUF), could begin operating as soon as January 2015.
“I have signed with the AUF for the creation of a digital university,” higher education minister Gnamien Konan said, speaking this week at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny University in the middle-class suburb of Cocody.
The announcement follows Konan’s good news in Paris, France, last week that the government was committed to invest US$14 million (7 billion FCFA) to boost distance education by donating ICT equipment to students and teaching staff.
Distance education in Ivory Coast exists but it is less developed and it is mostly done through Abidjan-based CIFAD (Centre International de Formation à Distance, a member of RUSTA).
But the government revealed in July this year that it was working with Switzerland to create a strong online distance education system to ease the burden of overcrowded universities.
“It’s a good move because many young people want to pursue their tertiary studies, but are unable to do so due to the lack of space at state universities,” 20-year-old Aminata Diawara said in the commercial capital Abidjan.
However, the minister said distance education will not harvest success if students and lecturers were not equipped with ICT equipment.
“You won’t be able to study online if you don’t have your own ICT equipment. You cannot rely on internet cafés, never! You need something of your own to do your work on your own time,” Damien Nguessan Koffi said.