Investments in broadband and women researchers

Universities in Senegal will benefit from high-speed broadband internet from the end of November, and the government is to allocate funds to support women researchers, according to press reports.

At the signing of an agreement with Sonatel, the national telecommunications agency, Higher Education and Research Minister Professor Mary Teuw Niane announced that a large bandwidth of 2 x 155Mb would be available within the university system by the end of November, reported Agence de Presse Sénégalaise, or APS, of Dakar.

He said Senegal wanted university areas – both educational and social – supplied with wifi to give students the best possible working conditions and advantages through use of information and communication technologies, reported APS.

Niane said the facility would enable students to take advantage of databases worldwide, and to be competitive at the African level, reported Sud Quotidien of Dakar.

The paper quoted him as saying it would make Senegal’s university sector the beneficiary of the “greatest bandwidth in Sub-Saharan Africa, perhaps outside South Africa”.

The initiative was in line with the government’s programme ‘One student, one computer’ launched in 2013, from which more than 15,000 students had benefited, Sud Quotidien reported him as saying.

Supporting women researchers

Meanwhile, the Ministry for Higher Education and Research has allocated funding of FCA100 million (US$193,000) a year to improve the working conditions of women researchers in Senegalese universities, reported APS.

The announcement was made by Courfia Kéba Diawara, rector of the University Assane Seck in Ziguinchor, during a training seminar on gender and leadership.

He praised Niane for establishing the funding, which he explained was part of a support project for Senegalese women researchers.

At Assane Seck University women represented 7% of teaching and research staff. Although they were few, they “shone by their dynamism”, said Diawara.

“Universities must open up, decompartmentalise. Universities have a wider and more ambitious mission than educating young people… But they must also open themselves to the community to share their knowledge and remain in harmony with society, [the] population and its expectations,” he said.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.