In Dakar, Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) switched to online teaching in mid-June for its 90,000 students. This decision follows violent clashes following the conviction of opponent Ousmane Sonko. Some students say no to online courses, which they believe would harm equal opportunities.
The alleys of UCAD are deserted, and a few rare cars cross the campus. The students, they had to leave the premises after the events of June 1st.
Face-to-face classes will not resume until October or November and student associations are against the decision to switch to online teaching.
“Senegal has not yet prepared to do online courses, protests Modou Diagne, president of the association of legal and political science students. Materially and technically, it is impossible. Some students live in the depths of the country and cannot connect”.
The university closed its doors because the social campus which welcomes the students is no longer able to function because of the ransacking. The clashes that followed Ousmane Sonko’s conviction caused extensive damage to the university’s infrastructure.
A large majority of students have decided to boycott online classes, according to student unions.
The transition to digital is not impossible for Professor Claude Lishou, a teacher at the Polytechnique School within UCAD. “In this third millennium, distance is also part of a way of disseminating knowledge. All resources can be downloaded by the student in less than five minutes, and he can now read these documents offline”.