Free Trial

Safari Books Online is a digital library providing on-demand subscription access to thousands of learning resources.

Share this Page URL

Chapter 10: Bridging the Digital Divide ... > THE HIGHER EDUCATION CONTEXT IN MOZA... - Pg. 153

Bridging the Digital Divide by Open Source framework, which in turn is based on CI concepts. Furthermore, we will review literature in order to help determine how to select and design technolo- gies appropriate to a context such as the one that the authors encountered in the project to develop and implement an academic registry information system (ARIS) for several Mozambican univer- sities. These theoretical considerations lead to possible building blocks to harness the potential of North-South open source projects. A note about the usage of terms: "Free soft- ware" and "Open Source software" have differ- ent origins, and not all software licenses that are recognized as open source licenses are recognized as free software licenses and vice versa. Despite ideological differences many developers feel little impact on the actual software development in their communities (Eilhard, 2009). In this paper we use the term "open source software" to refer to both free/libre and open source software, also designated as FLOSS, or FOSS. It shall be emphasized that free software is not be confused with freeware. As Richard Stallman put it, free software is "free as in free speech, not as in free beer" (Gay, 2002). The structure of the paper is as follows. First we give an overview of the study and its context. Afterwards follows a description of Appropri- ate Technology and its compatibility with open source software. Then we summarize theoretical considerations on open source, and show how they naturally relate with each other. This converges into a collection of building blocks for North- South open source projects, before we finish with suggestions for further research. that led to the development and implementation of an information system within a development project. This is followed by a brief description how the development project has been realized. THE HIGHER EDUCATION CONTEXT IN MOZAMBIQUE In recent years the student numbers have been rising quickly in Mozambique. Table 1 summa- rizes available statistical data from the Ministry of Education and Culture. The increased demand for study opportunities has lead to the expansion of existing and the formation of new universities, both in the public and the private sector. The higher education institutions have expanded outside the capital Maputo to all provinces of the country. This has created universities with faculties in different cities, spread over a large geographical area. These developments pose challenges for the management and administration in the higher education sector. While until a few years ago it was still feasible to manage student enrollments, marks and cer- tificates with pencil and paper or spreadsheets, these techniques do not scale well to current - and still rising - student numbers. They have proven to be labor-intensive and error-prone with large student numbers. Academic registrars often used to know all or many students at their faculty and remembered details about their study careers that helped in the daily administrative work. As this Table 1. Development of student numbers in public and private universities in Mozambique (Ministé- rio de Educação e Cultura, 2005; Ministério de Educação e Cultura, 2006) Year Public sector Private sector Total 2003 11235 5990 17225 2004 15113 7143 22256 2005 18863 9435 28298 2006 32081 11152 43233 DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTEXT The context that encountered in the Mozambican Higher Education sector is the basis and motivation for subsequent theoretical considerations. In this section we will first describe recent developments in the sector and associated difficulties and needs 153