Students and staff of Cameroon’s state universities will soon be able to carry out online learning and administrative activities much smoothly thanks to a partnership deal that seeks to install broadband high-speed internet services on campuses of the universities.

The deal has been concluded between Cameroon’s state-owned telecommunications company, CAMTEL, and the country’s Higher Education Ministry. CAMTEL’s Director-General, Judith Yah Sunday, signed on behalf of the telco while Higher Education Minister, Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo, penned the deal on behalf of the universities at a ceremony in the capital, Yaounde, on 8 September 2020.

CAMTEL is also expected to build an interconnection network linking up all the concerned universities, according to the terms of the partnership.

CAMTEL's Director General (right) shakes hands with Higher Education Minister after they signed the partnership agreement in Yaounde.

The deal is part of Cameroon universities modernization plan

“This partnership does not only fall in line with government’s response efforts against COVID-19, but it is also part of measures being put in place to incorporate Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in our university governance plan,” Prof. Ndongo said at the ceremony to sign the deal.

He added that the move is part of the modernization process of Cameroon’s university system as spelled out in a project known as E-National Higher Education Network initiated by President Paul Biya. The project is principally intended to facilitate students’ access to digital resources by putting in place of the state-of-the-art infrastructure.

“The high-speed internet, the interconnection facility, and the software that will be made available by CAMTEL will optimize online registration and evaluation processes, ensure better generation and management of data, as well as encourage innovative teaching and learning approaches,” the Higher Education Minister said.

CAMTEL’s Director-General hailed the deal, saying it falls in line with the company’s mission of accompanying the State in its efforts to factor in ICTs in all aspects of national life.  She said the deal follows a long period of negotiation between CAMTEL and the Higher Education Ministry to furnish the latter with modern electronic communication equipment.

Access to digital information at a low rate

“CAMTEL is committed to enabling the national higher education community to access digital information under the best possible conditions in terms of quality of service at low rates. CAMTEL is there to support the process of the digital transformation of the Higher Education landscape,” Judith Yah Sunday said.

E-learning is increasingly gaining ground in Cameroon following the outbreak of the new coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) which has greatly changed the pattern of things. E-learning is also one of the aspects highlighted in Cameroon’s strategic digital economy plan – a document that details the central African nation’s digital economy development agenda.

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