By Brenda Angida and Damali Kisakye
Uganda Christian University has made the possession of laptops a requirement for every student joining the institution with effect from next semester.
The next semester starts on April 29, 2014 and runs through to mid-August.
Joseph Basoga, the university’s communication and marketing manager explained the introduction of the laptop scheme as a move to help the students in the long-run and will only affect students joining the institution in first year.
“The reason we introduced the laptop scheme for first year students is because we are strategically positioning ourselves as a leading private provider of university education, and to do this we need to embrace technology and provide it to all our students,” he explained.
The laptop scheme comes at a time when both staff and students have been guaranteed the opportunity to enjoy free high speed internet connections all over the campus.
“While we intend to have all students get a laptop upon admission to UCU, we shall not force it on them,” said Basoga
He also added that the laptops, that are anticipated to cost sh1.2m, will be given to all students who do not have a laptop when they join the institution and will have the option to pay for it in bits or in a lump-sum.
“The payment for the laptops will be an additional fee bundled up with the tuition and spread over the student’s duration on campus, and only new students with personal laptops may be excused from the scheme,” he added.
The university also has a policy to have MAC addresses of all computers on campus registered by the university’s computing services directorate before they can access the internet, but this is also a theft deterrent mechanism.
‘’This is one of our security measures to help recover stolen laptops with in the shortest time possible,” explained Basoga.
According to the university guild’s information minister, Isaac Kugonza, the purpose of availing personal laptops is to encourage students to tap into the university’s wide array of e-resources.
“We are going green and in the next five years we may have no need for delivering notes on paper, we are only positioning ourselves for the future
“Personal laptops will improve on student’s abilities to compete favorably in an ever inter-connected world, besides these will be their computers at the end of their courses,” added Basoga.
Patricia Kagwa, a final year student of Public administration at the same institution said this system would help students get acquainted with the benefits of an ever changing world.
“A number of students who join university do not know how to use laptops, but after taking basic computing classes, they learn a few concepts that are further reinforced with constant practice, a gap the personal laptops are likely to fill,” narrated Kagwa.