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Objectives: Internet as a tool for communication, information and participation among tertiary students in Namibia

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Objectives

The Southern African Students Union, (SASU), has proposed increased use of Internet communication, e-mail and use of a web site, with their target groups.

As a part of a broader communication strategy for SASU I wanted to investigate conditions for Internet to be used as a tool for information and communication in the Namibian context.

In order to do so, I wanted to first make a brief sketch of current projects and activities involving Internet infrastructure and training in Namibia, both non-governmental organisation (NGO) and government initiatives.

My main study concerns the extent of Internet access among tertiary students in Windhoek, Namibia. In addition I wanted to find out, in the case they had access, what they use this tool for.

In order to briefly estimate the basis for regional Internet communication among the SASU affiliate, a questionnaire regarding Internet access was presented to the executive council members at a communication workshop.

The broader segments of the population in Namibia do not have access to electronic media, but by the use of the Internet as an intermediary medium the information can reach people via local and regional nodes, i.e. media such as newspapers, local radio stations, local student leaders etc.[10] Subsequently, the students' access and regular use of conventional media, such as TV, radio and newspapers were of interest to me in this study.

In the longer perspective, and guided by the issues above, I wanted to see if there are indications and possibilities of the Internet becoming a tool for enhanced participation in the democratic process in the hands of the students in Namibia.


10 A network is set by interconnected nodes, where crucial network information is gathered, analysed and transmitted. Castells, Manuel (1996): The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, p 470
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