University of Malawi’s (Unima) students are pushing the administration to close the campus so that erratic Internet services are rectified as they have affected online classes for a month.
In a memo dated July 23 2021 signed by the university’s registrar Mary Wasili, it states that online classes were temporarily suspended on July 14 this year with an assurance to resume them on Monday.
Earlier, the college suspended face to face teaching due to the rising cases of Covid-19 and opted for online classes to avoid the further spread of the pandemic.
However, in the recent memo, the college informed students that due to reasons beyond management’s control, resumption of classes is ‘most likely’ to commence on August 2 2021.
Reads the memo in part: “The extension is due to logistical challenges in the procurement of Internet gadgets as the switches and routers needed to restore the system were not available in Malawi and had to be imported from China.
“The supplier had confirmed that by the end of next week [this week], the gadgets will be in; hence, the extension.”
In reaction, one of the students, who opted for anonymity, said the memo ignited student’s anger as the extension means they will spend a month without attending classes.
The student said those staying outside campus will be forced to pay rent, buy food and other upkeep services.
In their petition sent through the university’s dean of students Jonas Mwatseteza, the students have asked authorities to immediately close if by August 2 2021 Internet will not be restored.
Unima acting principal Samson Sajidu on Monday acknowledged the issues raised by the students.
He said the current status is that the Internet gadgets will be shipped from China to Malawi today and will be available possibly at the weekend.
“On that, we promise that the classes may surely resume on Monday August 2, but this is not a confirmation as we are not certain on how long it may take to install them,” he said.
However, Sajidu said those students who cannot afford the burden of expenses on and off campus can voluntarily go home.
“Since they are not learning let them go [home] instead of causing pressure and riots on campus,” he said.
The students have since given the administration 24 hours to respond to their petition or face undisclosed action.
After delivering the petition, the students marched to Zomba City where they blocked the road and chanted songs which forced police officers to disperse them.