In a debate at the German Forum for Higher Education in the Digital Age on advantages and disadvantages of digital education in Bonn in April 2016, you described e-learning as existential. Why?
Erick Tambo: The number of graduates of secondary education is enormously on the increase – especially in development countries. E-learning enables us to reach substantially more college students and to provide them with a high-quality education. Resources, which are frequently scarce, can be used more efficiently, for instance for digital learning infrastructure (virtual classrooms, libraries or laboratories). And experts of teaching and research can be involved independently of their own location. There is no other way to meet the existing demand. And that is why I see digital education as existential and without alternative.
You have been living in Germany since 1998. Why did you come to Germany?
Erick Tambo: The reasons were mostly pragmatic. My family and I privately organised and financed my studies in Germany. Here I had a chance obtain a high-quality degree without paying any fees. Also, I had the opportunity to work and gather practical experience while I was still a student.
And did it work out?
Erick Tambo: I think so: From the winter semester of 1999 to the summer semester of 2006, I successfully studied Applied Informatics at TU Dortmund. In 2005, I even received an award for exceptional achievement of an international student at TU Dortmund from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). During my main studies, I was supported by a grant from the DAAD for six months.
In parallel with my studies, I worked as a student assistant at FernUniversität Hagen, as a system developer for ‘Interactive Learning Systems’. I obtained my doctorate there between 2006 and 2010. During this period, I was supported by a three-month grant from the Hans Böckler Foundation.