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There is a tradition of student activism in Gabon. In spring 2000, students at the Université Omar Bongo boycotted classes for three months and participated in street demonstrations to protest the lack of computers and Internet access. During the demonstrations, some of the few existing computers were damaged. Students decided to end the boycott so as not to have to repeat the academic year, but they promised to renew the boycott in the future if computer access did not improve. One student leader declared that students wanted to enter the third millenium computer literate.

A more fundamental issue of course is the high grade repetition rate and the significant numbers of students who do not complete their education beyond the lower elementary grades. Both of these problems are related, and instruction in French, a language most of the students do not speak at home, may be one of the causes.


Campus Numérique Francophone de Libreville, 20 January 2001. Available from http://ww.ga.refer.org.

Fatunde, Tunde. "Computer-deprived students end boycott but remain defiant." The Times Higher Education Supplement, 30 April 1999.

Europa. The Europa World Yearbook 2000, Vol. 1. London: Europa Publications, 1999.

International Association of Universities. International Handbook of Universities, Fifteenth Ed. New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc, 1998.

Gardiner, David E. "Gabon Republic." In The International Encyclopedia of Education, vol. 5. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass, 1977.

UNESCO. Statistical Yearbook/Annuaire Statistique 1999. Paris and Lanham, MD: UNESCO Publishing and Bernan Press, 2000.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Factbook 2000. Directorate of Intelligence, 1 January 2000. Available from http://www.cia.gov.

Université Omar Bongo, 15 January 2001. Available from http://membres.spree.com/education/uobsite.

—Gilles Labrie

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