By Mark Kawalya
Kyamboga University has entered into a partnership with Absa Bank in Uganda that will facilitate the students and staff of the university to acquire laptops and other computer related accessories on a loan basis. During the launch event, Prof. Eli Katunguka, Kyambogo University Vice Chancellor, stated that the MOU will make it possible for university staff and students to acquire ICT gadgets on a hire purchase basis to break the payback amounts into bite-sized sums that are easier to pay.
The Vice Chancellor revealed that the university was assessed on readiness for e-learning by the National Council for Higher Education and was found to be prepared enough to engage students through e-learning modes of education.
Prof. Katunguka further revealed that one of the major problems with online learning is the failure by some students to acquire ICT equipment like laptops and smartphones, along with the high cost of data. Top management looked into ways it could alleviate the issue and decided to seek a partner that would facilitate students and staff to acquire ICT devices so they could conduct online teaching and learning.
“We have learning centres in Soroti and Bushenyi districts and our thinking is that one can sit here in class and teach many students who are a long distance away through ICT provision because this is being done in other countries,” said Prof. Katunguka.
Speaking on behalf of Absa Bank Uganda, Mr. Mumba Kalifungwa the Managing Director, said the bank was happy to announce the MOU that will see it facilitate students and staff with loan facilities to acquire laptops. The loans will run for a maximum of 36 months and will be dependent on the student’s remaining duration of study. All students and staff of Kyambogo University are eligible regardless of whether they are holders of an Absa bank account or not.
The MOU was born out of a desire to enable students to cope with the distractions that came about as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which put a pause on the learning of many and forced others to adopt e-learning, which required digital tools. As a result, many students were left out due to the high cost of these tools.