Togo educators appeal for ICT equipment

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Lomé, Togo

Some educators in Togo are ‘less amused’ and continue to cry foul over the government’s recent donation of ICT equipment to various institutions, which include universities, health centres and orphanages.

 “I’m afraid it’s too little and too late, and the government has also missed the point by not giving some of this equipment to institutions that truly deserve it,” educator Aziadjo Leon told Biztechafrica.

Post and Telecommunications Minister Cina Lawson recently oversaw the donation of 390 computers worth 316 million FCFA. A gesture, she said, was made possible with the financial and logistical of cellphone service provider Togo Cellulaire (Togocel).

State media was full of praise, saying that “this material will greatly benefit Togo citizens by enabling universities, institutions and young designers to exploit the full potential of everyday’s computing tools”.

The fortunate recipients included under-resourced University of Lomé (130) and University of Kara (65), National Assembly (17, to ‘improve’ its IT infrastructure), Lomé-based African Institute of Computer Science (15), hospitals and community health centres (27), and eight to orphanage, among others.

However, no equipment was given to primary and secondary schools, a ‘travesty’ that  incensed many educators. Even some high school learners have also decried the government’s snub, though they decline to comment on record to Biztechafrica.

“This is a travesty of leadership,’ a fuming Leon said.

“I’m not against universities receiving IT equipment but ICT training starts not at the top but at grassroots level, and the child’s knowledge gets better and better until as he or she reaches a higher level of education.”

Leon added: “ICT in education has just missed the train, at the right time. I wonder when such an opportunity will come up again.”

However, for some life goes on as if nothing has happened.

“We are a private school and we are not subsided by the state, so there was no way we could have received such luxury stuff,” Mela College principal Agbowokounou Kodjo Lucien told Biztechafrica.

“If public schools didn’t get something, what about us? It’s a pity that the government continues to ignore and overlook private schools despite the titanic work that we are doing to teach the nation.”

Mela College, located in the muddy township of Agbalepedo, does not have even a single computer, let alone a landline phone. And the principal said few selected pupils are chosen time to time to be trained outside the school by Good Samaritans.

“ICT equipment is so expensive, we cannot afford it,” the principal said.

Togo Cellulaire said it will finance IT courses to different beneficiaries, and provide computers’ maintenance and repair for one year.



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