UGBS launches Laptop Library to break digital divide
Students of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) who do not have personal laptops to undertake various academic tasks can now heave a sigh of relief as the UGBS has launched an initiative dubbed “Laptop Library” to make laptops readily available and accessible to all students.
The UGBS is operating the project with funding from some corporate organisations with support from some alumni members of the school.
All it required was for students to go online to fill out a form and be able to prove their studentship to qualify to access a laptop either for a day or a couple of days to enable them to undertake assignments and projects.
Speaking at the launch last Thursday, November 30, 2023, the Dean of the UGBS, Prof. Justice N. Bawole said the essence of the Laptop Library was to provide digital access to students.
He said for many reasons, a lot of students do not have laptops of their own and often when there are assignments or projects to be done, such students struggled, hence the need to undertake the initiative to support them.
“To address the problem of digital access, the Business School has two computer laboratories – one for undergraduates and the other for graduate students. So the Business School is undertaking this initiative to create a platform where every student can have access to a laptop when they need it,” he said.
“We are running this as a pilot project for a year and we will review it so if we get a lot of cooperation and responsible behaviour from our students, then a lot more laptops will be deployed into the library so that at any point in time, there can be so many laptops for students to use,” he revealed.
On funding, he said, “we have solicited help from corporate Ghana. All the laptops we are using for this project were donated by corporate Ghana so we have companies that we work with who support the project. I wish to use this opportunity to call on other companies to support us in this initiative.”
Prof. Bawole mentioned that students who would damage or lose a borrowed laptop from the library would be required to fix or replace it,charging the students to be responsible in the handling of the machines.
He said that was the principle on which libraries were operated when it came to the rules governing such facilities.
“This will come with responsibilities so if you borrow a laptop, use it and return it and when you return it, the IT team will check to ensure that the laptop is intact then you can hand it over. However, if you damage a laptop, you will be required to fix it and if you lose a laptop, you will be required to replace it,” he said.
The Provost of the College of Humanities, Prof. Daniel Ofori Frimpong lauded the UGBS for the initiative and urged the students to be worthy ambassadors of the project.
“I consider this as a very fantastic initiative. This is aimed at addressing digital poverty – people who don’t have access to the tools so we are giving you the tool and we want you to be worthy ambassadors of it,” he said.
“We want you to consider that you are the pioneers of this initiative so give us the reason not to cut this initiative. Don’t give us reasons to shut this down. We don’t want to say that the pioneering group completely messed it up so we had to shut it down,” he added.
"We have solicited help from corporate Ghana. All the laptops we are using for this project were donated by corporate Ghana so we have companies that we work with who support the project. I wish to use this opportunity to call on other companies to support us in this initiative."