Universities in Togo Lome

The following post is by Moussa P. Blimpo, who just received his Ph.D. in Economics from NYU, and has recently returned from conducting fieldwork in Benin and The Gambia. He is from Togo.

The working conditions are very poor in many African universities. I had a chance a few days ago to attend a class at The University of Lome, in Togo. My high school buddy, Zakari, is an assistant professor of mathematics there. With a meager salary, he has a daunting task to accomplish every semester. When he started teaching over a year ago, he was assigned to share an office with three tenured professors and another assistant professor. There is one computer and one printer to share, no copier, and no internet.

Zakari teaches four classes this term, with about 18 instructional hours per week. This year, he says, he has graded over 7000 exams already, and the academic year is yet to finish.

I attended one of his classes. It was a lab session with third year biology students. I could count over 120 students in the classroom. As you can see from the picture here, some students in the back of the room were kneeling down to take notes and many others were standing. The room was fairly large, but there were not enough seats to accommodate all the students.

I am not complaining for Zakari. Two of Zakari’s officemates left last year for Europe and they have no intention of returning.

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