The Principal, Makerere University College of Health Sciences Prof. Charles Ibingira has asked the university management to include personal computers as an admission requirement to Makerere University.
He says this will help students be able to access reading materials as well as facilitate students learning due to shortage of space for library materials and outdated computers coupled with limited university funding.
Prof. Ibingira made the request at the 2017 World Library Day celebrations at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences (CHS) gardens on Friday.
Prof. Ibingira stresses that book banks in the university play a vital role in providing materials for students especially the needy that might not be able to access computers.
He noted however that due to wear and tear, poor care and maintenance, thefts coupled with under-funding to stock new books, the book bank system has dwindled amid the growing students’ numbers.
“I remember when I was a student, I used to have all the books in all disciplines but this is no longer possible now because our book bank has dwindled. Personal computers would help students access materials when off campus since most of our material has been digitized,” Prof. Ibingira.
Dr. William Tayeebwa, the Journalism and Communication Head of Department at Makerere University told this publication that these tools would be key for them even after university in work places that are equally constrained.
“Yes it would obviously aid since we don’t have an optimal computer to student ratios. We would welcome a statement from management encouraging students to bring their own including cameras and recorders,” said Dr. Tayeebwa.
He however notes that whereas they would be good, laptops should not university requirement since majority of students cannot afford. Further arguing that this is a government institution whereby needy students should be assisted and/or units to provide labs.
“Even in the West, universities have labs available to all units. But here due to constraints, those who can afford should be encouraged to bring their own and university provides working stations with Internet,” Dr. Tayeebwa.
When contacted for a comment, Charles Ssentongo, the Makerere University Acting Deputy Academic Registrar in charge of Admissions said that the university had already embarked on encouraging students to come with their own laptops especially for professional course.
“It is indicated on the students admission letters where we encourage students to buy their own laptops. For instance in the College of Engineering, Design Art and Technology, students should have their personal computers and this is encouraged in professional courses,” Ssentongo said.
Adding that; “Policy issues come from colleges and anything related to payment must be discussed at senate and approved by council. Some sponsors ensure their students have laptops for they are crucial for example students under MasterCard Foundation.”
At Uganda Christian University (UCU), all students are required to have personal laptops to enable them enhance their studies at university.
UCU’s Communications and Marketing Manager, Michael Mubangizi, speaking to URN said that the university has an arrangement through which students can pay for laptops in phases.
“At registration, we require that students have laptops and for those who do not have them at registration, the university through our IT department has an arrangement where we offer laptops to students and they pay for them in installments,” Mubangizi said.