Description of Computer Science Higher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Initial Explorations

TitleDescription of Computer Science Higher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Initial Explorations
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsChetty M, Buckhalter C, Best ML, Grinter RE, Guzdial M
KeywordsSub-Saharan Africa, Undergraduate computing education

Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are in need oftechnology innovators who are equipped to leverage technologies
in locally relevant domains such as health, government and
education. To create skilled graduates who can build and shape
locally relevant technologies, higher education institutes in Africa
must have Computer Science (CS) education programs that meet
local needs, for example, to satisfy the demand for entrepreneurs
to build industry and strengthen an economy.
This paper characterizes the current state of CS education in SSA
in order to identify opportunities for addressing education
challenges and to make suggestions that may improve the
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure
in this region. We present the results of a survey of CS educators
in SSA institutions of higher education, which was aimed at
exploring the issues they face. In addition to the continued
chronic under-funding of SSA education, we found that
universities in SSA have smaller departments, less focus on
Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and offer a variety of courses
aside from undergraduate Bachelors degrees.
We discuss directions to improve CS curricula through investing
in locally tailored courses and changing perceptions of the value
of SSA CS higher education programs, standards and educators.
Further, we reflect on the challenges of conducting research on
SSA. We conclude that further research in this area is needed to
build on the ideas we offer here to continue to strengthen CS
higher education in SSA.