Educational Systems in West Africa
The West African education system is inherited mainly from the British and French colonial education policies. The French policy in Africa is characterized as assimilation and aimed at the creation of an elite cherishing metropolitan values. Conversely, British practice has allegedly emphasized the notion of cultural adaptation, the creation of a group of educated Africans who at the same time would be rooted in their own culture. In one policy to another, the social, political, economic and technological changes in the world today (globalization) have revolutionized education. ICT has become important as building a new school for community advancement. From primaries to universities, school portals become an inevitable tool at the hands of institution authority to monitor and manage student's academics activities and entities infrastructure, but also a powerful means of fighting corruption that affects many African countries.
Broadband Technologies and BT Education Services
Broadband Technologies Ltd is an ICT company licensed by the Nigerian Communication Commission to provide International and National VSAT services as well as global Internet services. BT Education services, created in 2004 as a subsidiary of Broadband Technologies, initially provided educational institutions with standard information and communication facilities to meet the ICT needs of many Nigerian universities. In collaboration with WAeUP Germany and the University of Benin it has deployed its first Student Registration Portal (SRP) in 2006 at the demand of the school authorities to address many security issues with the then portal service providers. BT Education Services has during 6 years of operation in collaboration with WAeUP Germany gained a fair amount of experience of managing and setting up education portal solutions in more than 8 different institution across Nigeria. Prospect customer can benefit from this accumulated skill and knowledge by letting WAeUP experts help you out when planning and implementing your student's administrative portal solution, your mail or jabber server, and other additional services.
The German WAeUP team is a small group of independent scientists and engineers united by their passion for Open Source Software, especially Python and Zope. WAeUP co-founder and scientist Henrik Bettermann contracted this passion during his research stay in Ghana from 2003 to 2005. The physicist is focussing on scientific online publishing and long-term (self-)archival systems committing to the principles of Open Archives and Open Access. Already in 2001 he founded the German NGO Scientific African e.V. 'to enhance the visibility and accessibility of African scholarly material on the Internet'. In 2005 he met Francis Achemdey, CEO of Netplux Ltd (Accra, Ghana) and Hector Etomi, Executve Director of Broadband Technologies Ltd (Lagos, Nigeria). Hector Etomi told him about his West African eUniversity Project and the need in Africa for robust and secured portal software solutions to manage schools, colleges and universities over the Internet. The cooperation was born. A few months later, the experienced Python and Zope programmer Joachim Schmitz joined the project. The German project members and BT Education Services entered into agreement to provide and deploy such a system on the basis of Open Source and Free Software to any desirous learning institutions in Nigeria and West African sub region.
Tribute to Joachim Schmitz
The WAeUP co-founder unexpectly died on May 10th, 2008 at the age of 60. Joachim was an outstanding and unorthodox software engineer. WAeUP owes a lot to him and wouldn't be without him. Most important for the project was Joachim's confidence. He never said 'no' or 'impossible', his motto always was 'Schauen wir mal!' (Let's try and see!).
Joachim in Ghana, 2007
"I hear that he talked a lot about Zope in his private life, so you might have heard of it. He talked about it even to people that don't know much about software. I understand this perfectly, as I have the same habit. Zope, to him, like to me, is more than just a boring tool you use in your work to build web applications. It's something you can be passionate about, like a craftsman can be about his tools. It's also a community: people you know, who you work with, and who you like. It's a community of people that have known each other for years."
Martijn Faassen, Chairman of the Zope Foundation