VODACOM Lesotho (VCL) yesterday donated 100 computers to the National University of Lesotho (NUL) as part of a cooperation agreement between the two organisations.
The handover ceremony was held at the university’s Roma campus, with NUL Vice Chancellor Professor Nqosa Mahao, Court of Appeal President Kananelo Mosito, Communications Science and Technology Minister Khotso Letsatsi, VCL Acting Managing Director Johnny Dos Santos and Lesotho Communications Authority Chief Executive Officer Tseliso ‘Mokela among those in attendance.
In his remarks, Mr Dos Santos said the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate in ensuring the university catches up with other regional institutions. The MOU seeks to, among others, improve and upgrade NUL’s computer laboratories for both students and teacher training, improve connectivity throughout the campus, host open and distance learning servers and facilitate e-learning.
Under the agreement, the organisations would also launch a student internship placement programme for short-term assignments within VCL’s commercial, legal, finance and technical departments, through the Vodacom Graduate Development Programme.
“We are here to celebrate an initiative to advance the university’s educational standards with the donation of 100 computers,” said Mr Dos Santos.
“This is, however, not our only target as our objectives are outlined in the MOU we signed with NUL. Today’s initiative is only the beginning of a long-term partnership towards developing the education standards of the university.”
Mr Dos Santos said the telecommunications giant was passionate about raising education standards from primary up to tertiary levels as exemplified by the various programmes they had initiated around the country.
“Vodacom is currently supporting an e-learning programme called ischool in primary schools that enables children to learn through the use of tablets. This is changing the way education is being delivered during lessons,” he said.
“Vodacom is also supporting mentoring programmes to support youths venturing in business. We are excited that just next week we will be opening an innovation park aimed at grooming ideas of budding entrepreneurs into viable businesses.”
On his part, Professor Mahao said the partnership was a result of the university’s plea to the private sector to contribute towards developing the institution.
“At the beginning of this year, we launched a campaign inviting many of our alumni in the private sector to extend a helping hand to our institution,” he said.
“We wish to work together with people who we have a bona fide claim to the university such as government, our alumni as well as private sector entities.”
Professor Mahao said VCL’s coming on board was timeous given that the Council on Higher Education had given a negative review of NUL.
“During their last review of the university, the Council on Higher Education gave a negative review on the standard of education here. One of the things they pointed to was the shortage of computer laboratories,” he said.
“They gave us two years to sort out our areas of weakness, and we are grateful to Vodacom for coming to our aid.”