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Côte d'Ivoire InfoDevrapport

CÔTE D'IVOIRE

Overview

The development of ICT in Ivorian colleges, universities and teaching institutions is expected to revive distance training, the exchange of training programs relating to technology, improve access to computer equipment, and play a leading role in a more large-scale and efficient integration of ICT in the education system. The main challenges to the use of ICTs in education in Côte d'Ivoire are the lack of necessary infrastructure, computer equipment, qualified human resources, and the high cost of ICT materials. The large disparities in access to equitable educational opportunities between genders, ethnicities and regions need to be remedied. Despite these obstacles, the gradual adoption of training programs, public and private initiatives, and other activities are contributing to the achievement of a realistic vision.

Country Profile

Côte d'Ivoire is a West African country with an area of 322,000 square kilometers. It is bordered by Mali and Burkina Faso to the north, by Ghana to the east, and by Guinea and Liberia to the west. It has 550 kilometers of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Its official capital, Yamoussoukro, is located at the country's centre, and its principal commercial centers are Abidjan and San-Pédro, on the Gulf of Guinea, and Bouaké, in the center.

The Education System

Côte d'Ivoire has set up a national plan for the development of education and training within the time span 1998-2010 (PNDEF). This plan integrates important structural reforms:

· In primary education, to achieve universal schooling

· In secondary education, to thoroughly train and prepare students for the workforce or higher education

· In higher education, to improve the quality and efficiency to train and prepare students for entering a career, primarily in the private sector

In 2002, Côte d'Ivoire had about three million students, 73% of who were in primary school, 17% in middle school, 5% in high school, 1% in a trade or technical school, and 4% in a college or university. This has been accomplished thanks to the financial effort made by the government and partnerships with the private education sector. There are still some significant challenges in addressing the educational needs of a continually growing population

Infrastructure

A low telephone density and significant geographical disparities between Abidjan and the interior on one hand, and urban and rural areas on the other, characterize the telecommunications network in Côte d'Ivoire. The rate of telephones per 100 residents was about 2.5% in 2001-2002 and reached 10% in 2005 (in 1995, it was 0.82%). In rural zones, this rate rose only from 0.1% to 0.7% between 1995 and 2000, and to 1.5% in 2005. Only 40% of the demand for telephone lines was met in 2001-2002. Côte d'Ivoire has been connected to the Internet since 1996 through the Leyland link. Currently this link operates at 256 kbps towards the US through MCI, at 1 Mbps towards France through France Telecom, and at 256 kbps towards Canada through Téléglobe. There are six Internet service providers (ISPs). On May 31, 2002, these providers had 15,354 subscribers through RTC, 105 through RNIS, and 108 through special connections.

ICTs in Education

The education sector in Côte d'Ivoire is the first one in Africa to implement beneficial Internet applications. Multimedia enhanced education, distance training, and distance research of scientific information are important assets for those seeking to advance their knowledge. It is clear that the computerization of institutions, especially those in development or teaching, is becoming an urgent need, but it will be an arduous process. Some schools now offer training in computer management and networks, but there is further need for quality training programs for technicians and engineers.

The primary institutions that offer training programs in ICT are the National Institute of Technical Education (INSET), which offers training in ICT and runs the School of Tertiary Technology (ETT); the National Polytechnic Institute-Houphouet-Boigny (INP-HB), which runs several schools that feature ICT programs; the African Institute for Economic and Social Development (INADES), which offers training in IBISCUS programs to help libraries/resource centers use ICT; the National Academy of Extension and Telecommunications (ENSPT); the National Higher Technical School (ENTS); and the Centre for Continued Training (CFC). Some private and public educational institutions have, however, launched some initiatives towards the integration of ICT in teaching:

· Gateway to the Information Superhighway for Youth, a project supported by the institute of new technology in information and training (www.intif.francophonie.org)  

· The Internet Resource Center of the Distance Education Center of Côte d'Ivoire (CEDCI), part of the World Bank's GDLN network (The CED-CI specializes in continued training administered by Côte d'Ivoire, with technical, instructional, and financial support from the World Bank. It offers the exchange and sharing of knowledge through videoconferences and e-learning.)

· Occasional private initiatives to promote ICT (Internet Day Celebration, for example)

· SchoolNet Côte d'Ivoire, a branch of SchoolNet Africa (www.schoolnetafrica.net)

While a number of ICT projects exist within higher education, elementary and secondary schools remain largely marginalized because of the low priority accorded to social issues by current policies. The regional centre for computing, Centre Informatique Régional de Côte d'Ivoire, (CIRC) under the supervision of the Ministry of Technical Schools and Vocational Training, is responsible for ICT in the academic and research sectors.

Current ICT Initiatives and Projects

Project: MEN/DIPES/SDGI: Ivorian School Computer Project, 2006-2007

Experimenting with computer-related technologies in 29 pilot schools for the academic year 2006-2007. The activities of this program include: offering an ICT skills course in an ordinary classroom with hands-on training in a computer lab; computer skills training for teachers; equipping the pilot schools; defining an ICT curriculum for learners; and guidance and support for the local coordinating committee.

· Organization(s): The Direction of Computing, Planning, Evaluation and Statistics (DIPES) under the supervision of the Central Filing and Computer Management office (SDFCGI)

· For more information: www.simenci.org 

Project: Ciscolabs

Ciscolabs and NetSolutions is a new enterprise aims to reduce the digital gap by taking advantage of regulatory changes underway in West Africa and Senegal.

· Organization(s): Ciscolabs and NetSolutions

Project: BAOBAB Cyber Villages

The BAOBAB Company was established to develop a network of ICT service centers in sub- Saharan Africa. BAOBAB has a collective approach to improving access to ICT tools among associations, co-ops, small businesses, and liberal professions. It also develops relevant content for users.

Project: Assafad

Côte d'Ivoire is the seat of Assafad (African Association for African Training). It hosts several projects in tele-education and is also involved in the francophone project Olympus. It acquired equipment a few years ago and faculty were trained as specialists in distance education. But like all the francophone countries that benefit from grants and financial aid from the Francophone Communities Agency, training has been in steady decline since 1998.

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