HUYE – The National University of Rwanda plans to offer students a 24-hour access to library and computer laboratory services, as part of efforts to improve the quality of their graduates, the University Rector has said.
There has previously been a rush to access these facilities due to the ever growing student population currently standing at over 10,000 in addition to about 500 academic staff.
“The plan to have these facilities open 24 hours has been agreed upon by University management. Now we are looking at what it will require in terms of resources to have it implemented,” said the Rector, Professor Silas Lwakabamba.
Through the ICT infrastructure/equipment sub project funded by SIDA-SAREC to a tune of about Rwf98 million, the University intends to procure more computers and other equipment to improve computer accessibility for students and staff.
The University library which normally closes at 10.00pm is manned by 32 staff members who work for 9 hours a day. According to Bizimana Muhebera, the director of the library, about six additional staff will be needed to ensure that the programme is a success.
“Students and staff during the night just need to access the collection of books mainly the Rwandan and general collection which will not require a lot of extra staff to handle the work during this period,” said Bizimana.
The University authorities are also looking into improving Internet connectivity on campus which has largely been poor since the beginning of the academic year.
To achieve this, the University is negotiating a bigger bandwidth with Internet providers like MTN and ARTEL.
“We are trying to establish a wireless Internet connection on campus. One way would be through setting up of ‘hot spots’ where students and staff with laptop computers can access wireless Internet,” said Lwakabamba.
“We are in discussions with the ICT Ministry and private companies like Rwandatel to look into the possibility of having a bigger bandwidth especially at night when they do not need it, they can also do this as part of their corporate social responsibility.”
In a bid to solve the computer shortage problem, the University is working on helping students and staff members acquire their own computers through an initiative dubbed ‘One Laptop per teacher/student.
“We are in negotiations with a private firm to supply laptop computers to our lecturers and the money will deducted from their salary,” said Evode Mukama, the director of the University Centre for Instructional Technology.
The computers that cost between USD395 and USD920 will be paid for in installments. Under the arrangement the over 400 students who have so far registered to benefit from the facility will deal directly with the firm.