Pleading Web Presence for Our Higher Education Institutions
Honorable University Presidents, Deans, Department Heads, other University Leaders and Community of the Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions.
I am writing this public email out of genuine and serious concern of Internet absence of our higher education institutions. It is our collective knowledge that Internet presence of an institution even when the institution has not acquired full or even partial Internet access plays an important and significantly productive role in ways too many to mention. In this age of the Internet, higher education institutions -- as national centers of information and knowledge acquisition, creation, and dissemination -- cannot afford to stay out of touch with recent breakthroughs.
Even by African standards, most of the major universities in the continent maintain active Internet presence -- sometimes hosted outside the countries where better and enabling infrastructure exists. It is really regrettable that Addis Ababa University, one of the major and oldest universities in Africa, does not until now have a functional web site.
I had the opportunity to talk to one of the leaders of the university sometime back and pleaded with him to seriously consider the possibility of hosting a web presence for the university even before the university becomes fully wired. In my recent visit, I was delighted to see that the work of laying out the wires had started in earnest, and some of the faculty members were in fact, hopeful that the service will start before the next academic year. While this is a rather encouraging, though belated news, we cannot still subdue our skepticism and apprehension regarding the task of developing the University's web site on time -- if at all.
Attempts have been made by Ethiopian web portals to feature most of the country's higher education institutions, especially Addis Ababa University. Calls have been made by many web content developers asking higher education institutions to send contents to them to feature it on their web sites; these have not been successful-yet.
As an African higher education expert and head of the content development division of one of the Ethiopian web sites, I am calling once again all the Ethiopian institutions of higher learning, public and private -- to make serious efforts towards Internet presence. There are a number of us who are eager and willing to develop content and host the web sites for these institutions-gratis, if the institutions send their content preferably in electronic format of any kind or even in print. The Theological College of Holy Trinity in Addis Ababa, for example, is featured (at http://www.ethioworld.com/religion/theologicalcollege.htm) owing largely due to the prompt response and willingness of the institution's leaders when approached with the idea. Once the institutions become capable of running a web site, they can fully assume the responsibility of managing it.