Donation of 500 000 computers to cameroonian university students : A press conference to explain !

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Donation of 500 000 computers to cameroonian university students : A press conference to explain !

The Minister of Communication and Cameroon government Spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary and Jacques Fame Ndongo, Minister of Higher Education granted a press conference last Friday December 29th, 2017 in Yaounde to national and international press organs. The main purpose of the conference was to explain the vision of the Head of State His Excellence Paul Biya through this operation: “One university student, one computer”, the cost and the performance of the computers. The presence of many experts from the Higher Education Ministry was to enlighten the press and public opinion on the outlines of this operation, and provide appropriate answers to questions that may arise on this issue.  Anyway, they did their best! It’s important to remind that in his traditional message to the youth on February 10th, 2016, the President of the Republic Paul Biya said : “ To each generation, its historic challenges for the nation’s future I can say that one of the major challenge for our youths is to manage to keep abreast of the astounding phenomenon of the digital economy. I urge th entire nation to resolutely mobilize and support the numerous initiatives undertaken by our youths in this area.” According to the Head of state, the project will not consist only of providing youth with computers, but also constructing, equipping and bulding the capacity of the personnel of the nine academic digital development centers.

Please, find below, the intire speech of Issa Tchiroma Bakary.

Léonard Fandja

MINISTÈRE DE LA COMMUNICATION

MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATION

 

 

 

 

DONATION OF 500,000 COMPUTERS TO CAMEROONIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS BY PRESIDENT PAUL BIYA

 

 

 

 

PRESS CONFERENCE

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT BY

H.E. ISSA TCHIROMA BAKARY

MINISTER OF COMMUNICATION

 

 

 

 

Yaoundé, December 29, 2017

Distinguished Journalists, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish you a warm welcome to this meeting to which I have invited you, to discuss on a topical issue relating to the effective implementation of operation “One university student, One computer” launched by the Government just 18 months ago.

As you can see, I have the privilege to be accompanied on this occasion, by Professor Jacques FAME NDONGO, Minister of Higher Education and principal manager of this important operation.

Professor, Mister Minister, I wish you a warm welcome to the Ministry of Communication, a house you are very familiar with.

I also acknowledge the presence here of many experts from your Ministry, who have come to enlighten the press and public opinion on the outlines of this operation and provide appropriate answers to questions that may arise on this issue.

Distinguished Journalists, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In his traditional message to the youth on February 10, 2016, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul BIYA, unveiled his vision on the need for our country to engage young people in the development of digital economy.

Permit me to amply quote the Head of State as he addressed the youth on that occasion: To each generation, its historic challenges for the nation’s future! I can say that one of the major challenges for our youths is to manage to keep abreast of the astounding phenomenon of the digital economy.

I urge the entire nation to resolutely mobilize and support the numerous initiatives undertaken by our youths in this area:

–  The Government should systematically and effectively continue setting up appropriate infrastructure, but also cleaning up and properly regulating this key sector in the interest of the national economy and the development of youth employment.

–  Public or private training institutions are called upon to fully play their role. They must identify the new trades and tailor their syllabuses accordingly.

–  Large enterprises and other public and private entities should set the example by progressively carrying out their own digital switchover.

–  Financial institutions definitely stand to benefit by developing specific programmes to support youth-initiated projects in this new economy.

It is through such collective commitment that we will be able to rise to the challenge of digital transition“, end of quote.

Resolutely keeping his word and determined to immediately translate this commitment into action, the President of the Republic had then instructed the Minister of Higher Education to operationalize His Very High Will within the shortest possible timeframe.

Thus, on July 27, 2016, the Minister of Higher Education announced to the press the launching of an operation to provide each student in Cameroon with a laptop.

Dubbed “e-National Higher Education”, this operation was intended to generalize the use of ICTs by Cameroonian students, especially to meet their didactic needs.

This was, the Minister of Higher Education said and I quote: “a presidential and one-off operation, aimed at providing 500,000 Cameroonian students with appropriate ICT tools to ensure their entry into the digital economy, “end of quote.

To achieve this, the Government of Cameroon had requested the services of a technical partner, namely the Chinese company Sichuan Telecom Construction Engineering Company, with funding from Exim Bank of China to the tune of 75 billion CFA francs.

Distinguished Journalists, Dear Friends, as everyone can see, the operation “One student, one computer” is part of a project which is not new.

It has nothing to do with an opportunist operation aiming at shaping consciences for electoralist goals, as it has unfortunately been aired recently.

This project is the result of a Head of State’s initiative for Cameroonian students, to give them the necessary boost, and beyond, create the psychological trigger for their insertion in the digital world that is now structuring the process of socialization and transcendence, especially among this segment of the population.

I would like to emphasize in this regard, and in general terms, that the development of computer science and ICT has nowadays favoured the emergence of cyberspace, which fundamentally alters the relation to knowledge.

This is an immutable fact that no single person with common sense and immersed in a logic and a quest for contemporary excellence can ignore.

In the field of higher education in any case, this prerequisite is translated into concrete terms by the existence of what is now known as “world university cyberspace”.

In this context, which has become somehow rigid, the learner who does not have access to this cyberspace is in fact marginalized in the quest for knowledge. And in the case of countries with relative levels of development such as ours, the main barrier to the learner in his process to access the university cyberspace lies in his economic inability to acquire the computer tools suited to a universal didactic use.

As far as Cameroonian university students are concerned, it is therefore a question of meeting their didactic needs, by acquiring and using a relevant IT tool.

In fact, computers that were acquired as part of the “e-National Higher Education” project discussed today, were designed to help their users respond to their most pressing learning needs. These include: having a proper access to books and other digital resources available in the cyberspace, wherever they are; getting internet connection in the best conditions ever, depending on the devices available in their environment, namely mobile internet devices, Wi-Fi or wired internet connection; putting together academic materials and forwarding them remotely whenever they want; saving books or other digital material to local or removable devices hooked to the computer.

These are – permit me to stress it out – the four basic educational requirements of the world university cyberspace, and which should be met by any computer dedicated for that purpose.

And it is actually the case with the PBHEV,  which stands for “Paul BIYA Higher Education Vision”, the core of the operation dubbed “One university student, one computer”.

Besides, the PBHEV is a conventional and high performing computer, fitted with all the technical features that are mostly found on such devices, including its memory, the power and speed of its processors or its multimedia features.

This computer is indeed suitable for common office tasks. It meets all the network operation requirements and has a long lasting energy saver, in addition to being easily portable thanks to its small size and weight.

Distinguished Journalists, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Permit me now to say a word on the cost of this operation, as some people availed themselves to harshly criticize it.

Yet here again, everything is clear and perfectly transparent.

The total cost of this project amounts to 75 billion CFA francs, broken down as follows: 50 billion CFA francs to manufacture, transport and distribute 500 thousand computers, at a unit cost of 100,000 CFA francs each; and the remaining 25 billion CFA francs earmarked for constructing, equipping and building the capacity of the personnel of the nine academic digital development centres. The same services will be provided for the Inter-university Network Management Centre.

With regard to the unit cost of 100,000 CFA francs, it is necessary to understand that it is not the commercial price of this computer, I mean its real market value.

In fact, to purchase a similarly performing computer at this cost, it had to be exempted from the normal costs applied by trademarks (since it does not have a trademark), the costs incurred in the marketing chain (the computer was directly delivered from the manufacturer to the user). Its cost also had to be discharged from customs and other duties (the entire process was duty-free) as well as international transport charges (included in the unit price of the computer as I just said).

Considering all these parameters, the commercial price of these computers in Cameroon, that is to say on the national market, is estimated at 300,000 (three hundred thousand) CFA francs.

To conclude, I would like to indicate that as from January 2018, an after-sales service made up of Cameroonian and Chinese technicians will be put in place in each of the State universities, to provide assistance to the beneficiary students, for the maintenance of these computers donated by the Head of State.

Distinguished Journalists, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the substance of the message the Minister of Higher Education and I deemed necessary to deliver, regarding this major project which, above all considerations, benefits our university students and which reinforces the commitment of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul BIYA, to make Cameroon one of those nations who have gone digital in Africa and, why not, worldwide.

It is now left to you to make a responsible and proper use of this information.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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