Africa is home to the youngest population in the world with 200 million aged between 15 – 24 years. At the same time, Internet penetration in Africa is above 25% and growing. These and other publicly available data raised challenging but meaningful questions on the future of our capacity building initiatives.
The Internet Society together with other similar organizations has, for the past many years, been supporting the Africa Network Operators Group (AfNOG) annual hands-on technical training workshops with the aim of providing basic knowledge to participants from emerging regions.
Similary, AfNOG offered an introductory course and several advanced courses. Beginners would attend the 5-day Unix and system administration course referred to as “Track 0”. Though effective, it was limited to a maximum of 30 new “Track 0” entrants trained annually. This was a drop in the ocean in comparison to the demand. In addition, the cost of training 30 new entrants over 5 days, excluding the time in planning and logistics, was at least USD $10,000 or over $330 per trainee. Nonetheless, the face-to-face training taught us many lessons on efficiency and the evolving African environment.
These experiences triggered the idea of taking the “Track 0” course online, as a means to reach more people in a sustainable and efficient way. But there was one underlying challenge; How would it be possible to take the offline, technical hands-on course, online? Well, the answer was found in breaking down all components of the face-to-face training and resulted in a self-paced, remote moderated online course titled “ Introduction to Network Operations: UNIX/Linux, Networking and DNS”.
Read more about this course which, has used the power of the Internet to build more skills in Africa: https://www.internetsociety.org/blog/africa-bureau/2016/03/telling-our-story-using-internet-build-more-skills-africa