A project to set up a unique digital library that will connect Cameroon’s eight state-owned universities is in the pipeline. This was at the center of discussions when heads of the concerned universities as well as authorities of the country’s Higher Education Ministry met for two days in the capital, Yaounde, last week.

During the meeting, stakeholders brainstormed on various operational modalities related to the project such as feasibility, cost, and the expected impact it will have on the teaching and learning process in the country’s higher education sector.

Stakeholders from Cameroon's state universities discuss operational modalities for the digital library project.

Cameroon's digital library will facilitate access to digital documentation

They lauded the initiative saying it will greatly facilitate access to digital documentation which is currently expensive for the country’s state universities given the very lean budgets they run on. The stakeholders thus agreed that pooling together academic resources in the form of an online library, which can be accessed by students, lecturers and even outside researchers, will play the trick.

Professor Wilfred Gabsa, Secretary-General at Cameroon’s Higher Education Ministry, who chaired the two-day meeting, underscored the importance of the project, saying the setting up of the virtual library will facilitate research and promote e-learning which the country is now greatly embracing because of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which has severely disrupted academic activities.

He added that the putting in place of the library will happen soon and that the goal is to bring Cameroon up to speed with international norms and standards in terms of information gathering and sharing especially in the tertiary education sector. The e-library will be set up using a Computerised Management System of the Higher Education Network known as SIGIRES.

Plans to set up the digital library for Cameroon’s state universities fall in line with the country’s E-learning National Higher Education program that seeks to fully incorporate digital technologies in the teaching and learning process in government-owned universities and as well as other institutions of higher learning.

As part of the E-learning National Higher Education project, all state universities run ICT centers that enable students to carry out research on campus, among other online activities. Still, as part of the project, President Paul Biya, has bought 500,000 laptops from China for a total cost of about $ 127 million and shared with university students in the country.

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