We may not agree entirely on what a Modern university is or from which era “Modern” starts and ends. In my understanding modern is not about when a university was established but it touches on a number of factors. One of these factors is advancement in technology and innovation. We have seen society evolve over centuries and life today is advancing faster that we can ever imagine, the more questions we have about our existence, the more answers we find and the geniuses of the world keep finding new ways of making our lives a lot easier.
A modern university is one that understands the need to keep up with the changes around us. The 20th Century is the Digital era, technology rules the world. Why? Because technology improves our daily lives.
The Pride of the Kingdom of Swaziland when it comes to higher education has always been the University of Swaziland. It Boasts of 3 campuses around the country and has helped hundreds of thousands of students attain the necessary skills they need to join the thriving economy of the country and that of the world. Formerly known as the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, operating jointly with these other states, the University developed into an independent University over time and has seen great improvement.
Writing about the University has reminded me of my years as a student at the university, residing at the Kwaluseni Campus, which I called home for over 3 years. This was back in the early 2000’s. Back then, I thought very highly of the University and I was proud to be enrolled there. Needless to say, I do not hold the same sentiments today, after enrolling for my BA in Journalism and Mass Communication. After so many years since my graduation in 2003, I assumed that there would be notable developments in infrastructure, School equipment (Desks and chairs) as well as administration (Application and registration), technology, services offered by the library and more. The application and registration process at the University of Swaziland is a Long and tedious affair which got me asking, Where the Heck are we? Stuck in the 18th century perhaps where technology is unheard of? I spent my time travelling back and forth the University when I did not receive my acceptance or rejection letter via the Post office at the beginning of the year, in fear of missing a few deadlines set up by the university in the event that I were accepted. I was not the only applicant who experienced this, we would all sit together in line, patiently waiting to be attended and told the news of whether we were accepted to study at the university or not. When I got the news I was accepted, nothing prepared me for more trips back and forth to the institution and queuing for three days straight to register at the University. Is this a National University proudly operating in the 20th Century? Would you boldly say it is a modern University? I don’t think so!
Advanced or modern universities today see the need for efficiency and fast service delivery which is why, to ensure ease with application and registration, most universities in the 20th century all over the world have adopted Online services. Examples of these include The Rhodes University and the University of Pretoria in South Africa. The University of Rwanda recently launched online application services in early 2016, to provide a one stop shop for all their students needs. Even a country that is highly perceived as one of the poorest in the world, Zimbabwe, has its Institutions of Higher learning offering online application and registration.
During my frustrations with application and registering, I referred to the whole tedious process on social medias as a “Perfectly Imperfect system” looking at the fact that it has managed to work over centuries and In my thoughts all that one needs to do is to simply be patient, queue diligently and be a winner after about roughly 3 days. I am one of those winners!
This is in fact a plea to the administrators of the University to consider keeping up with the changes in society and adopt technological advancement, where everything is at our fingertips. This would make life a lot easier for the students and the day to day running of the university.