NUANCE – January 2012

Rwanda’s KIST gets ultra modern ICT facility

E-learning and student-centred learning are becoming the status quo in Universities throughout the globe.  Of course this requires recognition of the pervasive role of ICT and a major investment in e-infrastructure.  Kigali Institute of Science and Technology has been a leader in ICT uptake in Rwanda.  KIST has just moved a step higher with the launch of a state of the art e-learning facility by Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremye together with the visiting Chinese official, Li Yuanchao. The facility, which was donated by Sun Yafang chairperson to President Paul Kagame in 2007 to improve the country’s e-Education situation.

This facility will enable students to follow lectures, communicate and see each other in several locations and also help them to record whole lessons and follow them afterwards.

The system will be a bridge for knowledge exchange, will enhance communication between students of both countries and will promote communication between KIST and other international universities. Professor Etienne Ntagwirumugara of KIST, who is also CEO of RwEdNet, the Rwandan NREN said that the e-learning system will contribute to meeting the objectives of the new student-centred approaches of learning where the lecturer follows the progress of each student. For large classes, students will be grouped in different rooms which will permit them to follow lessons conducted by one lecturer, thereby reducing costs and time and facilitating sharing of learning resources.

“The system avails more convenience and flexibility to students outside the KIST campus. This simply means that learners are not bound to a specific time/day to physically attend classes. They can also pause learning sessions at their convenience.  Using this system, a student can get recourse like video, downloadable documents, audio and written documents more easily than with the normal teaching methods,” narrated Ntagwirumugara.

He further added that with e-learning one can spend less time on the students and the students can go through the material any time they want and as many times as they want. The system allows lecturers to keep a tab on every student. In cases where somebody is lagging behind, the lecturer can personally assist him or her. The lecturers can keep checking the reports and interact with students on the Internet.

Aimee Chantal, a third year Computer Engineering student at the institution, said the new system would provide round-the-clock access from anywhere via the internet. She added that it will also accommodate a larger number of students at the same time and help them interact with colleagues from other institutions of higher learning.

It was pointed out at the launch that KIST is the future of Rwanda and that students should make good use of the e-learning system in contributing to the progress of the country.

Sources:… and Professor Ntagwirumugara

eTransform Africa: Education Sector Study

Compiled by those with an intimate knowledge of the situation on the ground in our region including the Alliance CEO, Dr Tusubira, Board member Dr Lishan Adam, and Open Learning Expert Neil Butcher, the final report of the Education Sector Study for the eTransform Africa initiative has been completed by ICT Development Associates and is now available to read and download from the initiative’s website. The title summarises the content: Transformation-ready: the strategic application of Information and communication technologies in Africa.

The report forms part of a cross-sector study (eTransform Africa) commissioned by the African Development Bank and the World Bank Group, with the support of the African Union which aims to identify how and where information and communication technologies (ICT), especially mobile devices, have the potential to transform development sectors in Africa. The education sector report was delivered by ICT Development Associates.  From the UbuntuNet Alliance perspective, the section on NRENs is critical. However, the study shines light on the overall context, focusing on:

  • Teacher professional development: with an emphasis on the contextualisation and implementation of a teacher competency framework that also addresses ICT in education.
  • Digital learning resources: with an emphasis on the experience and challenges for development of open educational resources that are responsive to development needs.
  • Affordable technologies: with an emphasis on the opportunities and challenges for use of mobile devices and smart phones for access to learning materials and collaboration platforms.
  • Education Management Information Systems (EMIS): with an emphasis on the opportunities and challenges for mobile data collection and dissemination.
  • National Research and Education Networks (NRENs): with an emphasis on the global and African experience in development of NRENs, costs and shared applications.

The report includes an analysis of ICTs in education from around the world in each of these focus areas and explores opportunities and challenges for Africa.  It identifies specific potential opportunities which governments and other stakeholders in African countries can exploit in integrating ICT in education in the following areas:

  • establishing an enabling policy environment;
  • widening access to ICT infrastructure and connectivity;
  • NRENs;
  • harnessing ICT to improve management and administration;
  • harnessing digital learning resources; and
  • building human capacity.

Educational development must be based first and foremost on educational needs and priorities, and on the wider social impacts resulting from these.  ICT can and will play an important part in meeting educational needs and priorities within this framework.  The report emphasises that interventions aimed at harnessing ICT in education must begin with contextualised needs analysis and careful planning that takes account of the realities within which implementation will take place.  It also identifies a number of the critical challenges which need to be addressed, suggests guidelines for the integration of ICT into education and concludes with recommendations to policy makers, regulators and development partners.

Click on the following link to read the executive summary, full report and annexes:…

KENET’s Kevin Chege appointed the Internet Development Manager for Africa by Internet Society

Kevin Chege, who has worked at KENET for seven years, has accepted a senior position as the Internet Development Manager for Africa with ISOC, the Internet Society.

What KENET is experiencing is not unique.  While the NREN community feel the disruption when their skilled staff move on, there is also a satisfaction at the role in capacity building played by the NRENs and the knowledge that there is yet another friend in high places. Professor Meoli Kashorda, CEO of KENET, the Kenyan NREN expresses this eloquently.

Meoli said that it was an honour for KENET that their staff member took up such a senior position.  Kevin Chege who was formerly an IBM consultant and referred to as “high-end ICT talented” is a network specialist who developed his skills at KENET. While working with KENET, Kevin has been responsible for IP network design, operations and services at the NREN and has overseen the dramatic expansion of the KENET network in the last four years. Chege was at KENET before it had its own Autonomous System Number and IP address blocks and has trained and mentored many techies and interns during his time there. He has recently become an ambassador in the NREN and Internet community in Africa, having been appointed as an expert trainer by both NSRC and AfNOG.

KENET has grown from two techies four years ago to about 11 skilled full-time techies today, most of them having been initially trained by Kevin in network operations and management.

The CEO on behalf of the KENET Secretariat, Management Board and Board of Trustees thanked Kevin Chege for his 7 years of dedicated and selfless service at KENET and wish him success in his new role as the Internet champion for Africa. And that the NREN will look forward to working with him at ISOC especially in the areas of Internet capacity development.

Kennedy Aseda, a network engineer who has worked with Kevin for the past three years will replace Kevin and continue to provide leadership in the IP core network design and operations at KENET.
The photo shows Kevin in animated discussion with Christian Kuun and Roderick Mooi of Meraka Institute during UbuntuNet-connect in Nairobi in November.

2011 TERENA NREN Compendium is out

The TERENA compendium for the National Research and Education Networks is now out. The 2011 Compendium covers close to 54 countries, which includes European and Mediterranean countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The TERENA Compendium is an authoritative reference on the development of research and education networking in Europe and beyond. Published since 2001, the TERENA Compendium provides information on key areas such as legal form, users, services, traffic, budget and staffing. It also shows who is doing what; connected institutions, shared connections, bandwidth, access level technologies, Ipv6 transition, traffic, tools, services, e-learning and challenges faced.

Its production is supported financially by the European Union and TERENA is solely responsible for the publication.
In a related development, RedCLARA also produces its own Compendium in a similar format. Currently, they invite the Latin American NRENs to answer the questionnaire that will serve for the elaboration of the RedCLARA Compendium of Latin American National Research and Education Networks 2011.

In the past, UbuntuNet Alliance member NRENs such as RENU, SUIN and MAREN contributed to the TERENA Compendium. However, for the past two years this had stopped. Hopefully, more African NRENs will again contribute as it benchmarks data which can be very beneficial to decision making. It is hoped that within the framework of AfricaConnect this will lead to the development of the Compendium of African NRENs.

Read more :

Internet Society Launches New Website

The Internet Society has just launched its redesigned website with exciting changes to the look, content, and functionality of the entire site. The new Internet Society website,, is IPv6 accessible and features many enhancements, including an emphasis on storytelling with real-life profiles of how the Internet impacts peoples’ lives.  The new website will also have multilingual content.

Popularly known as ISOC, the Internet Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world. It is the world’s trusted independent source of leadership for Internet policy, technology standards, and future development. Based on its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society works with its members and Chapters around the world to promote the continued evolution and growth of the open Internet through dialogue among companies, governments, and other organizations around the world.

Speaking during the launch,  Lynn St. Amour, Internet Society President and CEO said that the group was very excited about the new website and will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, 2012. She said that the new website reflects the tremendous breadth of the organization, the global scope of their membership, as well as the importance of protecting the open, global Internet.”

As one example of the Internet Society’s work, the home page of the new website features a compelling video on the Harlem Internet Access Program. The Internet Society provided a Community Grant to a member of its New York Chapter to support this program, which is making a tremendous impact on the lives of seniors by providing Internet access and training.

The Internet Society has been a friend of UbuntuNet Alliance since its founding, especially in support for capacity building activities.

African Union Research Grants: 2012 Open Call for Proposals

The African Union Commission is seeking proposals for research focusing on the following thematic priorities articulated in Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA) and its Lighthouse Projects: (a) Post-harvest and Agriculture, (b) Renewable and Sustainable Energy, and (c) Water and Sanitation in Africa. The programme is financed through the Financing Agreement between the European Commission and the ACP Group of States under the ACP Research for Sustainable Development Program of the 10th EDF Intra-ACP Envelop.

The full Guidelines for Applicants, Application form and other supporting documents are available for downloading from the following Internet Sites:

The deadline for submission of proposals is April 20, 2012 at 1700 hours (+3 GMT) Addis Ababa time.

Fellowship Application Round Opens for ICANN International Public Meeting 44 in Prague

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN) is now accepting online applications for the 16th round of the Fellowship program which provides a grant of support to individuals who are members of the Internet community and have not previously been able to participate in ICANN processes and constituent organizations.

Successful candidates will participate in the ICANN meeting to be held in Prague, Czech Republic from 24-29 June 2012. The program ensures global representation at ICANN’s public meetings.

The Fellowship program is open to applicants who are current residents of developing and least developed nations and interested in participating in ICANN and its supporting organizations, constituencies and stakeholder groups. Priority is given to individuals new to the ICANN environment from government and the ccTLD community, as well as those from academic, civil, business and non-profit entities, which are not involved in or associated with other ICANN supported travel programs.

The program provides the support and opportunity for these participants to gain knowledge on how to have their voices heard in the Internet community and ICANN. More information regarding terms and conditions, as well as eligibility is available online at or email at regarding any questions about this process or program.

Successful applicants will have demonstrated the ability to utilize the experiences gained from the fellowship to become a part of the next generation of ICANN leadership, a role or interest in the Internet space and also have an interest in contributing to ICANN policy development processes and its  fellowship alumni network just to mention a few of them
The Fellowship program arranges the airfare, hotel and a stipend for those individuals selected to participate in this ICANN meeting. Recipients are expected to actively participate in and contribute to ICANN processes, both at the meeting and in the future. As always, registration for ICANN’s meetings is free for anyone wanting to attend.
Applications for the meeting in Prague will be accepted from 00:00 UTC on 7 January 2012 until 00:00 UTC on 20 February 2012. Successful candidates will be posted on the ICANN Fellowship webpage by 6 April 2012.

Info from DeCLARA Express, and María José LópezPourailly

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