The Computer Society of Kenya

Since 1986


Monday, September 14, 2020

Laptops are now a basic requirement for students joining universities and colleges in Kenya as institutions continue to rollout online classes amid the Covid 19 pandemic.

Nearly all universities, both private and public, have directed first year students to purchase the gadgets as one of the compulsory requirements for admission during the September-December semester virtual admission which is currently ongoing. 

Universities such as KCA, University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology,  Meru University of Science and Technology(Must), Dedan Kimathi University of Technology,  Zetech University, Strathmore University, African Nazarene, Kenyatta and Mt Kenya among others have advised their students to acquire the gadgets as a basic requirement for admission.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic stopped face-to-face learning, most universities were not keen on ensuring their students purchase laptops and had left it to individual student’s decision. The universities, were capitalising on equipping students computer labs with enough machines for students.

Virtual classes

However, with the pandemic, the labs have been rendered non-essential as students and lecturers teach and learn from home.

The rollout of virtual classes has created a huge accessibility gap with some students unable to access learning materials.

A large number of others especially those in public universities have also missed out of their end of year examinations due to lack of laptops or smart phones.

KCA Vice Chancellor Prof Noah Midamba said it will be difficult for any student to be admitted in any university without a laptop.

“Universities are changing with times and students must be well equipped to access classes with ease,” he said.

Last week, the university launched a Sh50 million student laptop project to improve access to virtual learning for all students in partnership with the Co-operative Bank of Kenya and with RentCo Africa Limited.

Blended learning

The VC said, although face to face learning is key for first year students, continuing students might no longer need to attend classes in future.

Meru University has indicated that students must purchase the machines for easy learning.

Vice Chancellor Prof Romanus Odhiambo while welcoming first years insisted on the laptop requirement for all students.

Zetech University which is also offering blended learning, asked their students to purchase the laptops.

UoN vice Chancellor, Prof Stephen Kiama said laptops are now a necessity for all students and asked students to purchase them before classes begin.

In July, Kenyatta University directed both new students and continuing students to buy laptops as one of the requirements for admission to access online learning.

Since 2016, JKUAT made it mandatory for students joining the university to buy laptops. The university in partnership with Chinese company Inspur together with Intel and Microsoft assembles laptops dubbed Taifa A3 which students pay in two instalments through the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Juja branch.

Cooperative university of Kenya is also providing a student and staff laptop programme to enable student’s access learning.

Tertiary institutions

The students pay for the laptop in two instalments through the cooperative bank of Kenya.

Last year, RentCo Africa partnered with Nazarene university and is supplying laptops to students

Rentco started the laptop leasing scheme to students in tertiary institutions in 2018.

The scheme is meant to enable students in universities to acquire laptops in partnership with banks.

It is estimated that there are over 240,000 students in tertiary institutions in need of laptops

University student leaders have been asking the State to sponsor access to laptops for freshmen on admission in a bid to boost online and distance learning.

The leaders said this can be achieved through the Higher Education Loans Board loans and other scholarships by the National government.

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