Journalism Students Complain About Inadequate Computer Labs

Part of the NORHED computer lab.
Written by: 
Cosmas Ssegirinnya

Students at the Department of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University say the computer labs are ineffective and not supporting the learning process. The students say that many of the computers in the Department laboratories are not working.

According to Akabwai Tumukunde, a second year Bachelor of Journalism and Communication student, the number of computers is less compared to the number of students. The Department has two computer labs with about fifty computers. These are greatly outnumbered the students who are over five hundred.

"The computers are very few compared to the number of students. For example, the lower lab has only sixteen computers," Tumukunde said.

Patrick Arinaitwe, a second year student offering the same course explains that majority of the computers do not function.

"Almost all the computers don't work. When we go as a class to the lab, only a few of us can get a fully functioning computer," Arinaitwe told journalism@mak.

"The labs are always closed. I thought we could always use them at our convenience but surprisingly if there is no class, they are locked," explained Moses Mucunguzi, who is also a student at the Department.

Namugabi Phiona, a first year student says that they are given less time in the lab compared to the rest of the classes. She says this time given to them is very insufficient because they also need to research just like the other students.

The outgoing Labs and Equipment Coordinator at the Department, John Baptist Imokola however says the other classes are given more time because they do more production. “These are production labs, and currently we have heavy production courses from second year to fourth year, who are given priority in using the labs,” said Imokola.

John Okoth, the lab attendant of both computer laboratories, says some of the computers are worn out and they need replacement. He says that some accessories are lacking causing the ineffectiveness of the computers.

On access to the labs, Okoth said the labs are accessed following a particular time table.

According to Imokola, some of the computers only lack servicing. He says that some computers are old and they cannot support the heavy production software that the students need for their practice.

"We don't have enough service and repairs for those computers. Some computers have problems as small as lack of a source of power," he added.

Imokola also explains the department has always written to the College about the issue but they have not received much support. He says the department has more than the seventy computers, and some are kept in the store because of lack of space.

The Department currently has two laboratories (the Norhed computer lab located at the Arts Building and the Multi-media computer located at the Lincoln flats building).