By James Mphande
NICO Pension on March 10, 2021 gave out a K3 million cheque to the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) to help towards procurements of ICT gadgets under e-learning.
Due to Covid-19 challenges, MUST introduced blended learning that combines face-to-face and e-learning. However, some students have found it challenging to access lessons on the online platform due to among other reasons, lack of internet enabling gadgets such as smart phones and laptops.
Realising this challenge, the university reached out to industry captains and other well-wishers for support.
Speaking before handing over the cheque at MUST Campus in Thyolo, NICO Pension General Manager Gerald Chima said much as Covid-19 has affected everyone, including his company, they decided to help because students are the future of this country.
“When we received the request for support, we had to come in and support. We understand that your need could be huge but we hope pour support will help to ease the challenge for some students,” he said.
“We also felt that if we are among the first to respond to the call, we will raise awareness about the challenge and hopefully more well-wishers will emulate our gesture and support you.”
He said it was an honour to NICO Pension to have an opportunity to impact on the lives of MUST students both on campus and in their future lives.
Receiving the cheque, MUST Vice Chancellor Professor Address Malata was very thankful to NICO Pension for the support.
“Most of our students come from poor families and as such, they cannot afford to buy these gadgets on their own. This is why we called for support from you and other well-wishers. This will go a long way in enabling some students to access education and that will make a difference between success and failure,” she said.
“Once students fail to access the lessons due to lack of these gadgets, their education is affected and we are trying our best to ensure that no student fails to learn due to lack of a gadget.”
MUST started providing some needy students with gadgets such as laptops, tablets and routers and allows all students to access its online teaching and learning platform for free as long as they have an internet enabling gadget.
The university has a reverse billing arrangement with internet service providers so that all the cost of the students’ internet access on the e-learning platform is billed to the university and not the students.