Earlier this month, UCBC unveiled two updated computer labs on campus which house 55 new computers and provide faster, more reliable internet. Access to consistent and quality technology has remained difficult in Congo and these computer labs are a huge gain for the students, faculty, and staff. The computers are part of a major technology upgrade funded by a grant from First Fruit Inc., a longtime CI partner rooted in faith and dedicated to supporting leaders and organizations in the Majority World. Before receiving this grant, UCBC had only 10 outdated computers and 20 mini computers for the entire student body to use.
Roughly half of students entering UCBC have had little to no experience with computers prior to attending the university and the vast majority do not own a personal computer. Despite the previous lack of adequate technology on campus, UCBC has been a national leader in higher education for years. These new upgrades will afford students the much needed experience of hands-on learning and continue to secure UCBC’s place at the forefront of higher education in Congo. Coordinator of the Economics Faculty, Rebecca Wasingya, remarked that “this computer laboratory will contribute to the quality of training and learning of students, by allowing them to develop digital skills essential to their academic and professional success.” In total, the technology upgrade on campus includes 55 new computers, two projectors, a new router, servers, and other pieces of equipment that make learning more accessible for all students.
UCBC also supports K-12 education in the area. The new computers will benefit many younger students, some of whom have never had access to digital technology, by allowing them to visit the campus to learn computer literacy and have access to online resources.
Renovations began for the two computer lab spaces in April 2023 and were completed in early July, in time for the beginning of the second semester. The UCBC library houses the general purpose computer lab – a space where all students now have access to the Bibliothèque Numérique Nationale (National Digital Library) and other online resources. The second lab is for the Applied Sciences and Communications departments and provides a dedicated research facility to improve the hands-on learning experience for students.
Sonia, an IT Management student at UCBC, expressed the importance of this new technology for student learning and success. “The new fully equipped computer lab at [UCBC] is a great opportunity for us. We are assured that we will have access to computers as most of us do not own a personal laptop. [As a student] studying IT Management, it’s an advantage because most of the courses are related to the use of computers… [and the uninterrupted internet] connection will advance our research. The new computer lab will not only be seen as an advantage for our university, but it is a fundamental asset for us students that will have a big influence on our academic achievement.”
Many natural resources found in Congo are used in the production of computers and other technologies, yet access to these technologies has remained limited within the country itself. The upgrades made with this grant will allow UCBC to continue to stand apart as a leader in higher education and the rising generation will continue to receive a transformative education for the flourishing of Congo.