The Office of the SRC at the University of Namibia (Unam) aims to spend N$325 000 to purchase about 100 laptops and a further N$14 800 to buy two desktop computers for two students who are inmates at the Windhoek Correctional facility as part of its Give Laptop campaign.
“We (Office of the SRC) are in the process of buying 100 laptops worth N$325 000, through the computer centre. The laptops will directly take a sim card, as this will be easier for students to use the TN sim cards they get from the university and can use the laptop as a phone. N$14 800 will be spent to purchase two desktop computers for our students who are inmates at the Windhoek Correctional facility,” said Ginola Nauseb, the SRC president.
“Regardless of the university’s optimism to strengthen its online resources, there is another challenge that presents itself and that is a prevailing lack of smart devices for students to comfortably access their portals and online learning platforms to do their required assessments.”
The university has 27 000 students registered for the 2020 academic year and of those, 1200 have been identified as needy countrywide, with the majority from the Khomas region.
“By needy, we mean the database of students under the professional service which is at the dean of students and they are in charge of catering particularly to needy students, those who come from grossly disadvantaged backgrounds and those who are often assisted by the university with tuition fees, toiletries, accommodation, registration fees,” mentioned Nauseb.
He said the university is continuing online learning, especially this time of the pandemic as it equips both students and staff with much needed online learning skills so that by no means the academic careers of students are prolonged. “We are also asking all kinds of devices which will assist students to conduct their online assignments from any donor out there, a lot of students are facing the difficulties of having a smart device to actively participate in their online learning,” said Nauseb.
The initiative is part of the “Give to Education” campaign which was birthed on the notion that it is only through education that one can emancipate themselves and their communities. Nauseb stated the emphasis with the Give a Laptop campaign is to prioritise and give to needy students.
With the idea of some students contemplating on cancelling the academic year, Nauseb engaged the secretary of the pro-vice chancellor and it was concluded that students who wish to deregister this year can come back next year with the same tuition fee.
“It’s entirely up to the students as there are some who don’t want to go through the stress and as the SRC, we understand that. To represent that need, we have engaged the PVC so that we can allow students to halt their academic year and we are willing to give them letters to give to their sponsors or donors to allow them not to lose their sponsorships, ” stated Nauseb.