The promoter of the Higher School of Advanced Techniques for Development (Estad) offers a new vision of higher education in Cameroon via digital technology.
By Junior Ayissi
The start of the academic year is scheduled for 02 November at the Higher School of Advanced Techniques for Development. How will this virtual re-entry go?
It is about a project to create an institute focused on distance learning. The name we have given today is the Higher School of Advanced Techniques for Development (Estad). I thought it was a question of doing like the seven dragons of Asia, who said in marketing that “tell me what you want, how you want, where you want, and I will deliver it to you”. You learn all your life. This means that we are not going to transport classrooms everywhere, it is not possible. Thus, we are in reality living classrooms, if so, that means that the educational offer must change paradigm. Little by little we have to start to understand that school is the place where we must necessarily bring people together to go and learn. They will tell me that there is socialization and that we are going to solve problems of this kind. But, even the Aborigines have some form of socialization. The goal is to create citizens who already have their heads around the world and who still have their feet in Cameroon. They are starting to become agents of peace on the international level without making the slightest displacement. I believe that these are things that have high added value. So that’s my point of view.
This is almost virtual. How do you plan to ensure flawless quality of education to students from all over the world with the internet offer which is not of good quality in some countries?
Prevent technology from being an additional tool of slavery for populations. The role of technologists is to make life easier for people, not the other way around. The quality of service of a telecom service is two things, availability in time and in space. We will try to make our faculty and our students autonomous so that they do not have problems connecting to the internet. If you want to offer an international product, you have to be supported by the best partners. I want to sell Cameroon, I want to sell Africa and this requires better internet quality through stable Hubs.
The main objective here is to ensure that the knowledge that one has undertaken to give to the child is given to him in full. Because, when you see the educational institutes, across the sea, it’s not so much about money but rather the final product, the final quality, that’s what makes the ranking. But, this quality of the final product, we are helping to make Man, that is to say, the primary resource of all resources. So, if you are not reassured that this objective has been reached, close the shop.
Speaking of Cameroon for example where the rate of Internet penetration is low, how do you plan to monitor students in remote areas who face certain problems, especially lack of electrical power?
We must make arrangements and this is what I am going to call a gradual adaptation to this new method of teaching integration. We have created what we call the “point of presence (Pop Estad)”, which are places where the student will be able to find himself with conditions which are similar to those of the mother site. When we say mother site, it is a misnomer. Because I can have in Nguelemendouga, a former retired teacher of masterful rank, of an incredible capacity and he will give his course from Nguelemendouga and share it with the whole international community who will follow Estad’s course. So you can see that from this point of view, a pop is symmetrical with respect to the main site. The pop is the symmetry that is to say in terms of functionality, it is the symmetry of the site. The Estad is certainly a virtual school but which is anchored, whose incarnation took place in Yaoundé, capital of a country called Cameroon. It is a universal school and I believe that there is a lot of unexploited potential. You journalists will certainly find many virtues there.
I believe that we are technologists, we must avoid doing so that technology is a tool of slavery for populations. The technologist’s role is to make life easier for users, not the other way around. Today you tend to make man become a slave to his own creation. What we will try to do is for our students and faculty to be self-sufficient and have no problem connecting to the internet.
Are you going to work with mobile phone partners?
Yes. However, if you are offering an international product, you must do everything to have an international standard too; we’ll do it. However, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Estad is well embodied in Cameroon, created by Cameroonians, but it is a school that aims to be universal.
What about the user equipment?
The operators telephony should not only have a commercial logic, especially as regards the school. We had all benefited from the benefits of school; so don’t we have a debt to the school? My wish is to already have students from the different countries of the sub-region (Gabon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea etc.) I want to sell Africa, I want to sell Africa from Cameroon. So it’s going to be expensive, but the question is what do you want. Training man is not a question of money. I received for free and I will also give for free.
This article was written and posted first by Mutations