One primary school pupil, one tablet: Dakar mayor

By Issa Sikiti da Silva

Khalifa Sall, the mayor of the Senegalese capital Dakar, has an ambitious plan for all the pupils of primary schools of his city.

Tablets for all students must become a reality, Sall said this week, speaking on Monday at a packed City Hall in Dakar to unveil his digital plans for the city’s schools.

“We have been looking for donors in the past three years to help us establish the industry of a digital creation in Senegal, particularly in Dakar," he told the audience.

Therefore, Sall announced that every pupil studying in the 143 primary schools in Dakar will be given a tablet powered with internet access through Wifi in their institutions.

The ambitious plan forms part of the ‘Internet for Schools’ project.

Senegal is one of Africa’s biggest ICT spenders and was ranked 12th in the 2014 ITU ICT Index.

But Sall’s announcement generated a rain of doubts among the audience, with some whispering that politicians were not to be trusted as they said one thing and did another.

As if sensing some degree of pessimism in the crowds, Sall said the city of Dakar has entered into a partnership with the city of Marseille (south of France) to ensure that the project materialised.

"With the help of Marseille and other structures, we have already secured an initial funding that will allow us to create a business incubator," the mayor said.

He also revealed that Dakar has sent inspectors and experts to Bordeaux, France, on Sunday to learn more about the French city’s introduction of tablets in its schools.

"If we succeed, the parents of pupils will no longer need to buy books or notebooks,” Sall said.

“ICTs have become an influential and significant contributor in any sustainable development project across the world," he said.

 

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