The 11th annual networking conference of UbuntuNet Alliance was held on 22-23 November 2018 in Zanzibar, Tanzania and delegates to the gathering were unanimous in their consensus on the need to fast track the digitalization of their entities into SMART institutions.
This was after exhaustive discussions on presentations from co-located meetings and from the main conference which was held under the theme: Towards African SMART Universities: Services that Matter” and hosted by the Tanzania Education and Research Network (TERNET).
Featuring over 50 vice chancellors from Eastern and Southern Africa as part of the audience, the conference which was opened on 22nd November 2018 by Tanzanian Education, Science and Technology Minister, Prof. Joyce Ndalichako and closed on the 23rd November 2018 by Zanzibar Minister of Education and Vocational Training Riziki Pembe Juma, saw over 30 research papers being presented to over 280 participants drawn from 33 countries from across the global research and education community.
Opening the conference on Thursday, Minister Prof. Ndalichako agreed that African institutions are lagging behind in terms of digital transformation and challenged the research and global community to offer solutions to the challenges behind the slow transformation of African Universities saying the Tanzanian government is ready to contribute to the cause.
“We are aware that despite the progress the global world is making Tanzania continues to lag behind in the uptake of ICT and innovation and this is mainly due to the prohibitive cost of bandwidth as well as slow internet speed. We are happy that organisations like UbuntuNet Alliance are helping local entities like TERNET to help us solve this problem. As government we are committed to helping TERNET have the required resources to reach the acceptable levels of ICT advancement that can allow the country participate in global agendas as we cannot afford to continue to lag behind,” she said.
During the conference researchers and authors presented papers and research projects on the four sub themes of the conference which included smart university: concepts, characteristics and technologies; smart research: services and tools; smart teaching and learning: services and tools and smart governance; Services and tools.
Closing the conference on Friday, Minister of Education and Vocation Works, Riziki Pembe Juma challenged attendees to adopt and put into practice recommendations from the meetings saying the society is relying on such practices to move forward.