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Spring 2005
ISSN 0890-913X
Volume 20, Number 2

Student Internet Use : USA and Mauritius

Marcelline Fusilier , Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Subhash Durlabhji, Northwestern State University of Louisiana
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StudentInternetUse:USAandMauritiusMarcellineFusilierNorthwesternStateUniversityofLouisianaSubhashDurlabhjiNorthwesternStateUniversityofLouisianaTheNewPartnershipforAfrica'sDevelopment(Nepad)identifiedinformationtechnologyasoneofthecoreareasforconcerninpromotingsustainablegrowthanddevelopment.TheInternetisapotentiallypowerfultoolfornarrowingthepovertygapandeliminatinggeographicbarrierstotheacquisitionofwealth.However,Africa'slackofInternetconnectivityputsitatadistinctdisadvantagewithregardtoparticipationintheglobaleconomy(Mbarika,Jensen,&Meso,2002).Oftheworld'smajorregions,AfricahastheleastInternetpenetrationat1.4%ofthepopulation(InternetUsageStatisticsBTheBigPicture,2004).BarrierstoInternetuseincludeirregularornonexistentelectricitysupplies,inadequatetelephonenetworks,andshortagesoftrainedpeople(Darley,2003;Mbarikaetal,2002).Mauritius,asmallislandnationoffthecoastofEastAfrica,isattemptingtotakealeadershiproleintheintroductionoftheInternetandinformationtechnologytoAfrica(Ackbarally,2002).Thisgoalmightbeattainablebecausethecountryhasastableannualeconomicgrowthrateofoverfivepercent,thehighestpercapitaincomeinAfrica,andelectricityandtelephoneconnectioninamajorityofthehouseholds.Accordingtothecountry'sNationalComputerBoard(NationalComputerBoard,2003),23.8%ofthehouseholdswithtelephoneconnectivityalsohaveInternetaccess.OverallcurrentInternetpenetrationis11.9%(InternetUsageStatisticsforAfrica,2004).WhilethisfigureishighforAfrica,itiswellbehinddevelopedcountriessuchasSweden(74.6%),HongKong(72.5%),andtheUnitedStates(69%).MauritiushasawidelyrecognizedneedfortraininginITandInternetuse(Robinson,2002).TheLelandInitiativeofUSAIDidentifiedseveralbarrierstoInternetuseinSub-SaharanAfrica,oneofwhichwasalackofInternettraining.Ackbarally(2002,p.161)
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