Following a call for applications Benin, through INSTI Lokossa, and Burkina Faso, through the Virtual University of Ouagadougou, have been selected as pilot countries to test this initiative. The aim is to promote the continuity and quality of higher education in West Africa by strengthening the network infrastructure and the e-learning offer within these two universities.
The Institut National Supérieur de Technologie Industrielle (INSTI Lokossa) of the UNSTIM in Benin, benefits from European Union funding for the digitalisation of its training. It is through the Africa Digital Campus project launched on Tuesday 25 October at the Golden Tulip in Cotonou by the Beninese Minister of Higher Education and the Minister of Digitalization that the signing of the consortium agreement took place. Professor Clotilde T. Guidi, Director of INSTI Lokossa and Professor Joachim Djimon Gbenou, Rector of UNSTIM, the university that coordinates the activities of the INSTI university centre, also took part.
Indeed, several African countries have adopted distance education as a means of addressing the challenge of educating their citizens. This is materialized by the creation of several university centres in secondary cities and virtual universities. However, there is a major difficulty on the continent. This includes the availability of adequate IT infrastructure and advanced services to enable access to resources to facilitate the learning process and assessments. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted this evidence, with millions of African students denied access to campuses. In addition, affordable access to adequate connectivity remains a challenge.
Based on this observation, the European Union has delegated funds to AFD for the implementation of 10 projects affecting thousands of people in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Africa Digital Campus, a project focusing on distance learning and connectivity, is one of them.
Thus, financed by the French Development Agency (AFD) with funds delegated by the European Union (EU), the Africa Digital Campus project is part of the EU program. The latter is entitled “Connectivity and digital solutions to build resilience to the crisis in education, health and MSMEs in African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OEACP)”.
The Africa Digital Campus (ADC) project will last for 2 years and has four main components: E-learning, Infrastructure, Community of Practice and Advocacy. It fits perfectly into the vision of the Government of the Republic of Benin which is to develop digital technology in higher education. ADC complements government initiatives such as the Beninese Education and Research Network (RBER), the first phase of which has already interconnected ten (10) university sites with services such as connectivity, IP telephony and videoconferencing; and the e-Learning project.