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Open market for electronic devices to be set up at UNZA

The project is aimed at increasing the accessibility of electronic gadgets for both students and members of staff THE University of Zambia, in conjunction with Airtel Zambia and a number of vendors, is planing to introduce a scheme project that will enable students and members of staff to purchase assorted electronic devices such as Laptops, Smart phones, modems or wireless gadgets of their choice.

Centre for Information and Communication Technology (CICT) Consultancy and Training Unit Manager, Benjamin Mpolokoso, said the project, to be launched next semester, is aimed at assisting students and members of staff to easily buy electronic devices under special terms and conditions.

Mr. Mpolokoso said a market research sponsored by Airtel and Earthrow Finances has commenced to find out what kind of electronic devices students would like to use during their study at the university.

“Right now we have started a market research, among 1000 students  and this initiative is a platform for e-learning in that we want all students and members of staff to own a computer which is essential for e-learning,” he said.

Mr. Mpolokoso explained that the project involves setting up an open market where many vendors will exhibit their electronic devices (laptops, combos and Smart phones) and allow students and lecturers to choose from the products based on their affordability.

“Students will be allowed to pay for the devices over a long period of time with the prices ranging from K150, 000 to K600, 000 monthly or quarterly. It is a big project because it involves suppliers of technology offering their services to UNZA at an affordable price,” he said.

 He said laptops, especially new and genuine ones, were considerably expensive for the average student  and therefore the project is open to all students as they will have an opportunity to purchase one or more products.

And Mr. Mpolokoso says UNZA wants to set up an e-learning platform where students will be able to access all kinds of material useful in academia.

He explained that with the full implementation of this project, lecturers will be encouraged to make video and  audio recordings, as well as power point presentations that would be downloaded by students anywhere in Zambia as long as there is an internet connection.

“It does not mean that these will replace lectures or tutorials but provide students with additional educational materials,” he said.

Mr. Mpolokoso said the project was just a learning process, where students will be able to access the materials anywhere.

 Meanwhile, Assistant Librarian, Chikwekwe Nkanya, says UNZA is digitalising all research materials of distance and masters students for easy accessibility.

“In a bid to decongest the library (special collection), we are scanning the dissertations so that students can access them anywhere easily,” he said.

Mr. Chikwekwe urged students to make use of the internet as one digitised book can be used by thousands of students at the same time.

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