Martin Hall (by way of t byfield) on Mon, 22 Feb 1999 20:33:32 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Virtual University/Segregated Highway? [2 of 2]


Virtual University/Segregated Highway?
The Politics of Connectivity

Education and Technology in the Commonwealth: Making the

Parallel Convention, 13th Commonwealth Conference of
Education Ministers, Gaborone, Botswana.

[part 2 of 2]

The extent of the disparities between institutions, and the
consequences of an education system in which resources are
indexed with race, are reflected in a study of information
literacy commissioned by the Western Cape's tertiary
education institutions. Aptly titling their study "The
Segregated Information Highway", Yusuf Sayed and Cathy-Mae
Karelse surveyed more than 5000 students across all the
region's campuses. The results are stark. 73% of students
expressed a high or moderate need for basic computer skills.
Of those who were aware of the potential of electronic
information, a large proportion expressed a need for
training in advanced skills such as the use of the Internet.
More than a third of the students surveyed felt that they
needed help in achieving basic information literacy and were
having difficulty in meeting the reading and writing
requirements of their courses. Race accounted for most of
the differences recorded across the questionnaire responses.
Black students felt less able to get access to the
information that they need, and expressed a greater
requirement for training in information literacy [26].

Thus information technology and access to education and
educational resources -- interrelated aspects of the broader
domain of the creation and distribution of knowledge -- are
imprinted with the pattern of Africa's common heritage of
exploitation, and overprinted with the narrow pathways of
power, whether this is access to the small number of
well-established elite urban universities, or the Internet,
newly available to those who can afford to purchase access
to the global tide of information.


The distribution of information technology in Africa, and
the implications of its disparities for the provision of
higher education, may seem distressingly familiar -- a
remapping of the geography of underdevelopment and
dependence. However there is an increasingly vocal argument,
both in Africa and elsewhere, that this is not an
inevitability. Developments in information and
communications technology are seen as revolutionary -- a
quantum leap comparable with the invention of the first
stone tools, agriculture and industrial production. In a
fortuitous reference to my own discipline Dr K Y Amoako,
Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa,
told his audience at an IT congress in May 1996 that "eons
from now, archaeologists will look back at meetings like
this one as they search for the foundations of their fully
live information societies" [27].

Amoako's argument was that, by taking advantage of the lag
in infrastructure development to learn from the mistakes of
others, Africa can "leapfrog over several generations of
intermediate technologies still in use in the industrial
world", providing cost-effective and appropriate
technologies [28]. The same case has been made for the use
of information technology in the provision of higher
education. John Daniel, vice-chancellor of Britain's Open
University, sees a global "crisis of access":

At the end of the millennium in which the idea of the
university has blossomed, population growth is outpacing the
world's capacity to give people access to universities. A
sizeable new university would now be needed every week
merely to sustain current participation rates in higher

Daniel believes that the solution is the "virtual
university" -- the complete integration of higher education
and information technology:

Many universities around the world are... having to react to
proposals from government or industry to transform higher
education through the use of new technology. Previously,
such proposals might have called for the creation of a new
and distinct institution, as happened with the distance
teaching mega-universities... Today the more usual aim is to
link existing institutions together electronically into a
new and more loosely bound type of mega-university[29].

The concept of leapfrogging higher education in Africa into
a new era through harnessing the power of information
technology is explicit in the World Bank's proposal for an
African Virtual University, and informs a number of other
policy proposals, including the South African National
Commission for Higher Education and the South African
government's White Paper on Higher Education [30]. Next
round, Wolfensohn.

There are, however, particular dangers in attractive
metaphors. Many creatures leap, and they are not all benign.
Some of Steven Spielberg's leaping dinosaurs have
razor-sharp teeth and no apparent sense of discrimination in
whom they attack, and one of the particular qualities of the
virtual world of the Internet is to collapse the past,
present and predicted future into a simulacrum that has the
appearance of making causes and consequences invisible. The
concept of a quantum leap that will leave the drudgeries of
the familiar track of development behind, taking Africa
directly into a post-industrial twenty-first century as an
equal partner to its erstwhile colonizers, seems to have
taken a tenacious hold. It is important to freeze the screen
and find out how the sequences are being constructed. Who is
formulating policies for the implementation of information
technologies in Africa and South Africa -- and for whose

The United Nations' Economic Commission for Africa is one
major player. The Commission has collaborated with the
International Telecommunications Union, the International
Development Research Center and UNESCO to formulate the
African Information Society Initiative, launched at the
Information Society and Development Conference in South
Africa in 1996. This policy framework places the development
of the continent's "Information Society" at the centre of
the United Nation's economic strategy for the region, and
presents cabinet-level proposals for national policies.
Goals include the creation of effective information and
decision support systems, open access to information,
private sector leadership, the empowerment of all sectors of
society and, by the year 2110, a situation where "every man
and woman, school child, village, government office, and
business can access information through computers and
telecommunications." The ECA sees its role as working with
national governments to develop information and
communication infrastructure plans, and promoting
partnerships between governments, and between governments
and the private sector [31].

The Initiative highlights the close connection between the
provision of information and communication technology and
education. "Challenges and opportunities" in the policy
proposals include distance education, connectivity between
schools, universities and research centres, the reduction of
communications costs, the promotion of collaboration in
teaching and learning, and the extension of the reach of
informal learning. One of the recommended projects for
national-level implementation is the "Higher Education and
Research Objective", which has as its goals

building communication network infrastructure at every
university; connecting universities and research centres to
the national communication background (all African
universities should be linked by the year 2000); promoting
and supporting collaboration among professionals; and
providing remote access to national and international
databases, libraries, research laboratories, and computing

Despite South Africa's leading role in the continent's
telematics, and its close involvement in continent-wide
strategies for development, it has been argued that this
country lacks a central, integrated vision for information
technology [33]. Nevertheless, a number of key policy
documents have addressed the issue. The 1994 White Paper on
Science and Technology advocated a "National System of
Innovation" for scientific and technological development,
and placed information technology in this context, arguing
for a coordinated "information society policy" that
supported private sector development, government
communication and the use of local knowledge and expertise.
The 1996 White Paper on Telecommunications Policy followed
with the argument that "the challenge is to articulate a
vision that balances the provision of basic universal
service to disadvantaged rural and urban communities with
the delivery of high-speed services capable of meeting the
needs of a growing South African economy". The lynchpin of
the White Paper's strategy was the concept of a Universal
Service Agency which would manage the redress of apartheid's
imbalances, countering the tendency of private sector
interests to draw resources away from the disadvantaged
because of the lack of profitability in the provision of
services to marginalised communities [34].

Again, the important connection between the provision of
access to information and the development of the capacity of
the national education system has been made in the
formulation of policy. The National Commission on Higher
Education (NCHE) established a Working Group on Libraries
and Information Technology which focussed on the need to
balance the importance of participating in global
information systems with the requirements to redress the
consequences of a segregated education system. The Working
Group emphasized the benefits of collaboration between
institutions and the importance of local domains of
knowledge and, in parallel with the emerging proposals for
national telecommunications policy, stressed the need for
government intervention in the provision of information
technology to avoid the tendency of a market-driven approach
to entrench existing disparities [35].

In a second initiative, the Department of Education
appointed a Ministerial Committee to investigate the role of
information technology in education, with emphasis on
distance education -- the Technology Enhanced Learning
Investigation (TELI). In its July 1996 report, the
Investigation recognized broad areas through which various
technologies and media can enhance education, and proposed a
range of strategic initiatives to integrate the use of
technology in education and training, including information
networking, course design and development, the professional
development of educators, fostering of information literacy
and the development of technological capacity [36].

Aspects of the work of both the National Commission and TELI
underlie recommendations in the Ministry of Education's
1996/97 White Paper on Higher Education. The White Paper
commits the government to the expansion of the higher
education system by, among other measures,

encouraging new learning and teaching strategies, in
particular, modifying traditional models of discipline-based
and sequential courses and qualifications with a flexible
credit-based system, with multiple entry and exit points and
a range of delivery mechanisms, including distance education
and resource-based learning.

The Department of Education encourages the development of
regional consortia to pursue this goal, as well as a
national network of regional centres for innovative course
design, and commits the Ministry to promoting the
development of a nation-wide infrastructure of "appropriate
technologies" [37].

These are substantial policy goals that have clearly been
developed to promote information technology as a "public
good", with governments taking responsibility for looking to
the needs of the poor and marginalised. And there are
examples of the development of technological applications
that make such policies seem realistic, and their goals

Firstly, there are now apposite examples of innovations that
will bring connectivity to marginalised communities, both in
sub-Saharan Africa generally and within South Africa. Such
developments are crucial both for the general goals set out
by the Economic Commission for Africa and other agencies,
and for the more specific project of achieving equity of
access to education [38]. For example, Phone Shops consist
of up to ten telephone booths built into a refurbished
freight container and connected to the cellular network via
a digital telephone interface. Phone Shops can be
transported to any rural or urban location where there is
cellular reception and avoid the expense and delay of fixed
line installations. There is every expectation that Phone
Shops will be able to provide cellular connections to the
Internet, and will also be able to make use of satellite
connections once these are generally available [39]. A
similar project is also under development in Somalia, where
robust, low cost servers making use of satellite connections
are planned to bring the Internet to most remote areas of
the country [40].

A variant of this approach is the Community Information
Development System (CiDS), a project coordinated by the
South African government research agency, the CSIR. CiDS
aims to provide on-line access for communities with no
fixed-line infrastructure by means of a low-cost, high speed
wireless network. A central node, connected to the Internet
through a fixed line, can support a web of base stations by
means of wireless point-to-point links. In their turn, the
base stations serve schools, community centres, health
clinics and other facilities within a radius of about 10kms,
again using wireless connections. A pilot project in
Mamelodi, outside Pretoria, is demonstrating the potential
of this system to support distance learning programmes [41].
In Zimbabwe, a solar energy project is planned to bring
electricity and the Internet to rural areas at the same
time. Themba Ndiweni, coordinator of the project, says that
the "Internet will attract young people to the rural centres
and will run for 24 hours ... We will teach the people to form
clubs where they can learn to access the world wide web and
link them to other communities in Asia and Latin America"

But, by themselves, such innovations have the potential to
be little more than slightly useful inventions. Phone Shops
have a clear utility in expanding standard
telecommunications, and will be of immeasurable benefit to
those who currently have no access to telephones. But will
such communities have any need to use Phone Shops -- or
community information points - to access the Internet? The
possibility of little more than a novelty value is captured
with gentle irony by the Zimbabwe community newsletter,
Zenzele News, which has two puzzled onlookers watching an
old woman at her computer, with the caption "watch Ugogo
umaMoyo busy on the computer, learning how to access the
internet!" [43] If they are to add value to raw bandwidth,
policies such as those formulated by the Economic Commission
for Africa and the South African government must be
accompanied by plans for the systematic delivery of
information that meets real needs.

In the particular area of higher education, some projects
have indeed been initiated in which information and
communications technology is being used to create a "virtual
environment" in which teaching and learning resources can be
shared. The most ambitious of these is the World Bank's
African Virtual University (AVU), launched at the Economic
Commission for Africa headquarters in Addis Ababa in
February 1997, with test sites at Addis Ababa University and
Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar [44]. The concept of
the AVU was developed by Etienne Baranshamaje, specifically
to address what the Bank sees as the fatal impasse of
underfunding, declining standards and failure to meet the
education needs of rapidly growing populations. The AVU will
set up franchises on traditional campuses in sub-Saharan
Africa and will provide courses in science, technology and
business science.

Educational institutions in South Africa, although nowhere
explicitly advocating the idea of the "virtual university",
have established electronic connections between
bricks-and-mortar campuses that will create the networks
required for John Daniel's digitally linked
"mega-university" to become a possibility. Frameworks for
the co-operative use of information technology have been set
up in all South Africa's major metropolitan regions. Here,
the southern African prototype has been the Western Cape's
CALICO project, a plan for a shared library system using
high-speed digital links to pool the resources of the five
higher education institutions in the province. CALICO has
been further strengthened by INFOLIT, a suite of projects
through which shared, digital teaching resources are being
developed. In Gauteng - the country's largest metropolitan
region, centered on Johannesburg - twelve tertiary education
institutions have formed a consortium called FOTIM, which is
developing a shared library system and the development of
teaching resources. KwaZulu-Natal has ESATI - the Eastern
Seaboard Association of Tertiary Institutions - which
comprises seven universities and technikons, while further
to the south is the Eastern Cape Higher Education
Association (ECHEA), the youngest of the consortia which
began planning a shared library system in March 1997.
Although CALICO, FOTIM, ESATI and ECHEA are presently
offering only a few shared teaching resources on an
experimental basis, it is likely that the broad band-width
cable links that will be necessary for their shared library
resources will provide a backbone for further development of
digital resources.

But however promising such technological innovations and
planned delivery systems for electronic information in
higher education, they will only be sustainable if they rest
on a financially viable foundation. Most explorations of
community Internet links have been made possible by
development agencies, while projects such as CALICO and
INFOLIT have been initiated through the use of donor funds.
It is generally recognized that these investments in
innovation will not lead to integrated solutions to crises
unless exploratory projects successfully develop a financial
basis for their own replication. Organizations such as the
Economic Commission for Africa and the World Bank have
acknowledged this requirement explicitly, as has the South
African government in its policy formulations. But, again,
it is important to explore the politics of system financing;
who will pay, and who will benefit?

One approach is to seek cost recovery from the student as
the "end-user" of education. This is increasingly the model
in "developed" countries -- examples are the US private
college and university, moves in Australia towards full cost
fees, and proposals being debated in the UK for different
forms of cost recovery. It is also implicit in many
approaches to developing the "virtual university". John
Daniel, for example, presents a vision of distance education
via the Internet in which courses are seen as consumer
products. Education offered in this way is argued to have
the special quality of very low production and distribution
costs after the initial investment in development, making
courseware appropriate for sale into a large and widely
dispersed market [45].

The World Bank's African Virtual University is based on this
approach to cost recovery. Established with a minimal
capital investment from donations and planned for low
operating costs based on cash-flow financing, the AVU will
seek to drive down prices by stimulating competition between
university franchisees. Unit costs of offering education
through information technology will be passed down to the
individual student:

where the students pay for their education, they take it
seriously... The A V U objective is to arrive at an A V U unit
cost per student which, when overheads and remuneration of the
franchisee are included, the tuition charged can be financed by
an average African student either through support from his
family, loans from relatives, tontine or a commercial bank.[46]

The problem with this approach, however, is that the
economics of education seem very different in the
"developed" and "developing" worlds. In highly
industrialized countries, where there have already been
substantial investments in the "information economy",
universities are increasingly operating in a competitive
market for fee-paying students, and have the resources do
so. Peter Scott sees this as a clear trend in such contexts,
with higher education becoming a consumer product:

Mass higher education systems are primary producers of the
events and experiences which are displacing consumer
durables as the 'outputs' of advanced capitalist economies,
as well as of the codified knowledge on which the production
of high value-added goods depends and the symbolic knowledge
in which social power is denominated[47].

In Britain, a recent study by the Higher Education Funding
Council has shown that people over 60 are more likely to
enter post-school education than any group except the
under-25s [48]. Stephen Trachtenberg, President of George
Washington University, sees this as a general trend in
highly developed economies, seeing aging populations in the
US, Japan and Europe as a "windfall" to universities,
stimulating their revival:

Our institutions may once again find themselves at the very
core of American culture and of what will be seen, in
retrospect, as the  new American lifestyle--one in which
those rich in years keep themselves in optimum shape through
ac ombination of physical and intellectual activity, in a
setting uniquely suited to their maturity[49].

Clearly, such changes in the patterns of demand for higher
education would in turn affect the use of information and
communication technology in delivering courseware to new

But the situation in Africa is very different. As Paul
Kennedy has reminded us, United Nations demographic
projections put 95% of global population growth between the
present and the year 2025 in developing counties. In the
present decade, population growth in Europe has averaged
0.22% per year, while African populations have increased
almost fourteen times faster, at 3% per annum. Looking at
the statistics in a different way, European and African
population levels were roughly equivalent at about 480m each
in 1985, but by 2025 the number of people in Africa is
expected to be three times that in Europe, at 1.58 billion
[50]. It has been predicted that in South Africa, 50% of the
population will be aged less than 20 by the year 2000.

Given the extent of these contrasts between the "developed"
and "developing" worlds it would seem inherently unlikely
that full cost recovery models such as that adopted by the
World Bank for the AVU can succeed in achieving unit prices
for education that can be afforded by the large numbers of
young, aspirant people from poor families who will continue
to see in higher education the opportunity of social and
economic mobility. If this is the case, such virtual
universities will only available to the elite, further
widening the divisions between the rich and poor, and
working against the goals of equity.

A different, although related, approach is to seek a balance
between state intervention and private sector investment,
with governments steering the development of information
technology, and the subset of education provision, in the
interests of equity goals. The African Information Society
Initiative adopts this model. Governments are required to
draw up national two to five year plans for developing
information and telecommunications infrastructures. These
should incorporate "measures which energize the private
sector to play a leading market role in the provision of
services", but they must also facilitate low-cost Internet
access, "indigenous African information content", and must
set as a priority access to information in marginalised
communities. The Initiative envisages that, in each country,
there will be

a strong regulatory body, independent from
telecommunications operators and their ministries, to
stimulate and regulate public/private sector partnerships,
with a view to safeguarding the goal of 'universal service'
and to review fiscal policies...[51]

South African national policy is consistent with this
approach. The 1996 White Paper on Telecommunications
recommends a continuation of the unbundling of the state
monopoly of telecommunications but allows for a 6 year lead
in-time in which Telkom will address imbalances in the
telecommunications network created by apartheid [52]. The
government has affirmed the concept of telecommunications as
a "universal service" and the need for an equitable
distribution of access, but has recognized the role of the
private sector. An independent South African
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA) has been
established to oversee the implementation of this policy.

But in practice this required balance between state
intervention and private sector investment is difficult to
achieve, as the South African case well illustrates. The
Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) was formed in
mid-1996 and immediately took issue with Telkom's launch of
its South African Internet Exchange (SAIX), complaining to
the Competition Board of unfair practice. In turn, Telkom
has argued that "first tier" bandwidth is a universal
service because it has no "added value" (in this case, the
provision of services such as e-mail and web-site hosting,
which are provided by second and third tier service
providers who lease bandwidth in their turn from first tier
agents). SATRA began to adjudicate the dispute in June 1997
[53], but in the meantime there have been accusations of bad
faith and suggestions of legal action, and ISPA has held
Telkom's customers hostage by denying them access to its
peering point in Johannesburg [54].

At first sight, this rather unseemly scuffle -- in the words
of Jay Naidoo, South African Minister responsible for
telecommunications, "the battleground for the knights of the
development round table" [55] -- appears to confirm the
inevitability that the private sector will attempt to secure
short-term profit at the expense of longer-term policies of
social redress. But other aspects of Africa's -- including
South Africa's - rather shaky path towards the Information
Society suggest a more complex picture. Thus the African
Information Society Initiative is supported by the World
Bank and the Global Information Infrastructure Commission
(GIIC) [56], while the GIIC is, in its turn, an amalgamation
of interests that include other banks, some government
agencies, and a set of some of the largest transnational
corporations with interests in telecommunications. The
GIIC's mission is "to foster private sector leadership and
private-public sector cooperation in the development of
information networks and services to advance global economic
growth, education and quality of life", leading to the
"involvement of developing countries in the building and
utilization of truly global and open information
infrastructure" [57]. Chomsky again.

It seems probable that the longer-term view taken by the
larger private sector interests will pay off for them. For
example, government licence conditions for South Africa's
two commercial cellular network operators were that they
install at least 30 000 community telephones, thus
augmenting Telkom's project for a massive increase in
teledensity by the year 2000. This requirement directly
stimulated Siemen's development of containerized phone shops
and fixed cellular payphones -- innovations which have
already been exported to Burundi, Angola and Tanzania, and
which have export potential for the further 20 or so African
countries where there is a cellular network [58].

In its African context, then, information technology can be
used to provide variants of the "virtual university",
whether these be regional connectivity between campuses,
extension of access into rural areas and urban townships or
the modernization of distance education. But the success of
applications will depend on the partnering of, on the one
hand, national strategies for meeting the requirements of
growing populations with increasing proportions of young
people seeking social and economic mobility through
education and, on the other, the private sector, seeking
returns on investment. The nouveau riche czars of the
Internet, who control much of southern Africa's bandwidth,
show little sign of looking beyond immediate profit,
providing justification for the government regulation that
they deplore. The large multinational interests seem to be
taking a long-term stance, seeing in today's subsidized
"virtual student" in the rural Northern Province tomorrow's
executive in metropolitan Gauteng; although this is not
necessarily what the African Information Society Initiative
and others had in mind for community empowerment.



1. I am grateful to Rahiema Sulaiman and Shirley Rix for research
assistance in preparing this paper, to Kate Whittaker for
investigating regional consortia and university connectivity in
South Africa, to Harriet Deacon, Stacey Stent, Marion Walton,
Fiona Wilson and David Worth of the Multimedia Education Group
for stimulating discussions about the Internet, and to Brenda
Cooper for reading the draft of this paper, and for commenting
extensively. Opinions expressed about the politics of
interconnectivity, and particularly those relating to
universities in South Africa, are my own and are not necessarily
shared by the University of Cape Town. 

2. Since I have been at pains in this paper to relate individuals
and their identity to the broad flow of the Internet, I must also
identify myself. I am a historical archaeologist with an interest
in colonialism, particularly the archaeology of colonial
settlement in southern Africa. I am also Director of the
Multmedia Education Group, a project sponsored by the Andrew W
Mellon Foundation for the purpose of developing educationally
sound electronic teaching materials which are appropriate for use
in South African higher education, and testing their
cost-effectiveness. These two fields of work have converged in a
growing interest in the archaeology of what may, or may not, be a
new wave of colonialism from the north to the south Š or perhaps
from the south to the north.

3. Kawakami 1995.

4. Christopher NorthÕs page is at http:/, the
International Chindogu Society at
http:/, and Orangutan Records

5. Hall 1992:274-275.

6. WolffensohnÕs comments were made at the Global Knowledge 97
conference in Toronto in June 1997, and are, appropriately,
summarised on the Internet at Chomsky delivered the
T.B.Davie Lecture on Academic Freedom at the University of Cape
Town in the same month. Equally approriately, ChomskyÕs remarks
have yet to be published.

7. Akhtar and Laviolette 1996.

8. Throughout this paper, I have relied heavily on James HodgeÕs
and Jonathan MillerÕs unpublished survey of information and
communications technology in South Africa (Hodge and Miller
1996). I am grateful to James Hodge for making this work
available, and to invaluable guidance in other parts of the
technological maze. 

9. A host is no longer necessarily a single computer on the
Internet because of virtual hosting in which a single machine
acts like multiple systems. There is not necessarily a
correlation between a hostÕs domain name and where it is located,
and hosts under domains such as EDU, ORG and COM can be located
anywhere; in the January survey, COM, EDU, NET and ORG domains
accounted for about half of the total hosts in the world. The
estimate cited here is that of the Internet Domain Survey,
carried out by Network Wizards, and found at

10. "Topological Map of Southern African Internet Access
Providers", © 1997 Gregory Massel. Used
with permission of the author.

11. "Internet Statistics", compiled by Andr‡s Salamon,

12. Hodge and Miller 1996. See also International
Telecommunications Union, African Telecommunication Indicators,

13. CCS October Household Survey, 1995, summarised by Hodge and
Miller 1996.

14. Hodge and Miller 1996.

15. Saint 1992. For the earlier study, see World Bank 1988. Also
Findings, Africa Region (10), January 1994, World Bank,
Washington: "African Universities: The Way Forward".[Return to

16. Ajayi, Goma and Johnson 1996:145.

17. Ajayi, Goma and Johnson 1996:160.

18. NCHE 1996:2.

19. White Paper on Higher Education: A Programme for Higher
Education Transformation. Draft 3, May 1997. Notice 712 of 1997,
Ministry of Education.

20. Njabulo Ndebele, "Creative instability: the case of the South
African Higher Education System". Cambridge Southern African
Lecture, Johannesburg, 5 November 1996.

21. Subotzky 1997. NCHE 1996. For South African government
documents, see

22. Mamdani 1996.

23. There is little systematic or comparative information on the
extent of information technology within universities in Africa,
including South Africa. I am indebted to Kate Whitaker of the
Western CapeÕs CALICO/INFOLIT project for conducting a telephone
survey to try to establish the degree of connectivity within
South African universities. She found that several universties
were unsure of the extent of their own resources, while some
others were reluctant to release information as a matter of

24. Kate Whitaker, "Interconnectivity in Higher Education in
South Africa Š provisional data". INFOLIT survey, July

25. It should be noted that even at the University of Cape Town,
which is comparatively well endowed with computing facilities,
there are very few workstations in the student residences. Since
the vast majority of black students depend on the residence
system, this has the effect of creating an internal segregation
in access to facilities which the university is urgently seeking
to redress; Andrew Sillen, Chair, Information Technology
Equipment Committee, University of Cape Town, personal
communication. The University of Stellenbosch, in contrast, which
is still an overwhelmingly white institution, is reported to have
cabled its residence system, allowing students who can afford to
buy computers for themselves access to the Internet. These
nuances will illustrate the dangers of system-level
categorizations of South AfricaÕs complex higher education

26. Sayed and Karelse 1997. The full study will be published by
the University of Cape Town Press in 1997.

27. Amoako 1996.

28. African Information Society Initiative; Amoako 1996.[Return
to Text]

29. Daniel 1996:4, 21.

30. Baranshamaje 1995; NCHE 1996; White Paper on Higher
Education: A Programme for Higher Education Transformation. Draft
3, May 1997. Notice 712 of 1997, Ministry of Education.[Return to

31. The African Information Society Initiative was developed by a
High Level Working Group of the United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa, and stemmed from the 1995 African Regional
Symposium on Telematics for Development. The Initiative was
formally adopted for implementation by the ECA Conference of
Ministers in May 1996. The full text can be found in Cogburn

32. African Information Society Initiative, Annex II.[Return to

33. Hodge and Miller 1997. The National Information Technology
Forum, an independent consortium of government, private sector,
labour, community and non-governmental organisations, has been
formed to lobby for an effective, co-ordinated information policy
for South Africa. The NITF is at

34. White Paper on Science and Technology: Preparing for the 21st
Century. Pretoria, Department of Arts, Culture, Science and
Technology, 1994. White Paper on Telecommunications Policy. 2nd
draft, Chapter 1. Available at[Return
to Text]

35. Executive Summary, Libraries and Information Technology
Working Group, South African National Commission on Higher
Education; in NCHE 1996.

36. TELI 1996.

37. White Paper on Higher Education: A Programme for Higher
Education Transformation. Draft 3, May 1997. Notice 712 of 1997,
Ministry of Education.

38. Most of the projects mentioned here are reviewed by Hodge and
Miller 1996.

39. James Hodge, personal communication.

40. Amir Haque, Edmund Ressor and Associates, as reported on the
GKD97 list.

41. Hodge and Miller 1996.

42. "Internet for Rural Community Centres", Zenzele News,

43. Zelene News, Planning, Information and Research Unit,

44. Makane Faye, "Africa and the Internet. A manual for
policymakers, planners and researchers". United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, 1997.

45. Daniel 1996. There is, however, an emerging counter opinion
that electronically transmitted courseware can be more expensive
than traditional "contact" teaching, and some "virtual" courses
are being priced higher than conventional instruction.[Return to

46. Baranshamaje 1995.

47. Scott 1995:94.

48. Harriet Swain, "Older and wiser: the over-60s flock to
learn." Times Higher Education Supplement, 20 June 1997.[Return
to Text]

49. Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, "Preparing for baby boomers: Older
students will bring new opportunities to colleges". Chronicle of
Higher Education, 21 March 1997.

50. Kennedy 1993.

51. UNESCO, Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, May
1996: Resolution 812 (XXXI), "Implementation of the African
Information Society Initiative". Full text in Cogburn,

52. The unbundling of the South African state monopoly in
telecommunications began in 1991, when the Department of Posts
and Telecommunications was changed into government owned Telkom
SA Pty Ltd (currently in the top 30 of world telecommunications
operators). TelkomÕs Vision 2000 project aims to instal an
additional 3 million new lines by the end of the period of
exclusivity, almost doubling teledensity.

53. Lesley Stones, "Adjudication on TelkomÕs bid for five-year
Internet monopoly begins". Business Day, 11 June 1997.[Return to

54. For a detailed background to the dispute, see Anthony Brooks,
" Report: April 97" at . The consequence of a
lack of access to the ISPA peering point is that SAIX clients
have very slow response times for many local sites.[Return to

55. Address to the Global Knowledge 97 conference, Toronto,
Canada, June 1997: "A summary report from Global Knowledge 97",
International Institute for Sustainable Development,

56. Cogburn 1996.

57. Information about the Global Information Infrastructure
Commission can be found at The GIIC is guided
by 44 Commissioners; senior executives from international
corporations, mostly with telecommunications interests (eg Texas
Instruments, Siemens, Mitsubishi, Olivetti, Sprint, Oracle,
Telkom SA, Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, At & T), banks (Citibank,
World Bank), some government organisations, universities and
policy groups (HarvardÕs Science, Technology and Public Policy
Programme, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies,
the Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center, the
Indonesian Department of Tourism, Posts and Telecommunications,
the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial

58. Hodge and Miller 1996.

59. South Africa imports virtually all packaged software, and the
growth rate in sales of software is about three times general
economic growth, suggesting that it will be difficult for a local
software industry to catch up. South Africa spends less that 1%
of its GDP on research and development, about a third of the
amount spent by developed countries. This stunts the
possibilities for the development of a local hardware industry;
Hodge and Miller 1996.

60. Gibbs 1997.

61. Productivity in the worldÕs seven richest nations has fallen
from 4.5% per annum in 1960 to 1.5% - in other words, in inverse
relationship to the rise of information technology. One survey of
6000 office workers in the US found that "futzing" averaged more
than 5 hours per person per week; Gibbs 1997.

62. Baranshamaje 1995.

63. See report by John Andrews, chief executive of the Welsh
funding councils, to the House of Commons public accounts
committee, and questions regarding the provision of education
overseas by the Swansea Institute and the Southampton Institute
(Tony Tysome, "Tough task for new agency", Times Higher Education
Supplement, 7 March 1997. See also the British CouncilÕs
condemnation of the activities of the UKÕs Institution of
Commercial Management and Association of Business Executives in
Kenya ("Awards rivals trade blows over standards", Times Higher
Education Supplement, 18 April 1997).

64. Yeld and Haeck 1997.

65. Appadurai 1996:10.

66. Wachira Kigotho, "Back to the blackboard", Times Higher
Education Supplement, 4 April 1997; Edwin Naidu, "South Africa
botches a major chance to influence global higher education",
Higher Education Review, New Nation, 11 April 1997.[Return to

67. Amoako 1996.

68. Appadurai 1996:7.

69. Earthlife Africa,; Rhodesians
Worldwide on the World Wide Web,; National Society
for Microsoft Haters,; African
Information and Development Centre,; [Return
to Text]

70. "Creation of a Pan-African Senate: A call for Action",
distributed by Ibe Ibeike-Jonah from Cornell University, and
initiated by Ali Mazrui, Director of Global Cultural Studies at
the State University of New York. The petition had attracted 135
signatures, including many leading African intellectuals working
at universities outside the continent, by the time it was
distributed on the African Higher Education Network in May

71. Global Knowledge 97, A report
on the conference, "A summary report from Global Knowledge 97",
has been prepared by the International Institute for Sustainable
Development,[Return to

72. "Global Knowledge 97 Storyline", an informal paper
commissioned by Canada, in which "the views expressed should not
be attributed to the conference sponsors". ,

73. "Local Knowledge Š Global Wisdom", Exchanges on the Local Knowledge
list, including "The mythology of technology: the Internet as
Utopia" by Jesse Hirsh (which sets out the philosophy of the
Toronto Media Collective), and a report on the Local Knowledge
counter event) are archived at

74. Jesse Hirsh, "Local Knowledge Global Wisdom Report",
distributed on the LK97 list on 27 June 1997. See

75 "The Media Collective: Bringing Culture Back to Resistance";

#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL:  contact: