Report and Photo by Happiness Gamki (5/5)
Edited and assessed by JM
The University of Jos started as a Campus of the University of Ibadan in November, 1971 with Degree courses in Arts introduced in October 1973 and in Science and Education the following year. The institution has been in existence for about 47 years and in its pursuit of academic excellence, the search for free wireless connectivity on campuses in the University of Jos has led to the assemblage of students from different departments, in different locations where coverage is seemed to be available, to connect to it, using their mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
These students often converge in their numbers during the working hours of the institution particularly when the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) unit, the library, some faculties and departments turn-on their wireless Internet service to serve their staff but often extend beyond their offices to the surrounding environment; thus giving access to students who are within the sphere of coverage to connect and comb the Net.
Speaking with a student from the Faculty of Arts, the Department of Foreign Languages, Miss Grace Apollos, lamented the absence of Internet access to students of the university. She said that she often comes around the ICT unit in the Naraguta Campus to access free Internet. She stated that, “Students will line up here just to connect to the Internet for one reason or the other.” She added, “Many of us are here to browse the Internet in search of materials to aid our academic works such as assignments and research including materials that will broaden our knowledge, but it is sad that not even a convenient environment is constructed for that purpose.”
Henry Dranbi, a 400 level student of Biochemistry who was seen around the department of Nursing Science surfing the Web with other students said “the need to access free wireless Internet service makes me and my course-mates to come around.” He said that they do not have free Internet service in their department. So he often comes to the Nursing Science department to connect to theirs. “We often hang around to browse without a convenient place to seat but do not have a choice since we must connect to the Internet for free and do our assignments,” he added.
A student from the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, the Department of Architecture who was seen along with other students within his departmental premises, and requested to remain anonymous said, “My monthly allowance is not enough and rarely takes me through the month as such, it is not always easy to be buying data every time and since most of our academic assignments require us going to the Internet, I often come here to browse.”
A student from the Faculty of Education, Josephine A. Shingo lamented the difficulty associated with standing for too long just to browse for free. “Sometimes I lean on the wall to browse; other times, I seat on the staircase. It is really not convenient but one must find a way to access the free Internet so as to get academic materials for assignments and other academic works.”
A student who was seen browsing and taking down notes around the Department of Architecture but refused to give her department and name said that, “When I have assignments to do, I usually come here to access free Internet to get materials. I also come here to chat with my family and friends whenever I run out of personal data.”
Responding to the lack of Internet access to students of the institution and a convenient place to seat and browse, the Deputy Director of the ICT unit who also doubles as the Head of Computer and Information Service (CIS), Mr. Omoren empathized with the students saying, “I am sad that even after so many years of the existence of the ICT unit, it is still battling to meet the needs of its students and staff.” He added that, “It is not proper that students have to come around the ICT unit and either stand or squat for whatever reason to access the Internet.”
The Head of the CIS said, “It is the wish of the ICT unit to provide wireless service in each and every classroom in the institution, so that no one will have to line up here for Internet or wireless network.” Besides making Internet connectivity accessible to students of the institution, the deputy director of ICT stated, “I believe that a convenient environment such as a park should be made available to ease the stress of students standing under the hot sun while accessing the Internet.”
Common locations students often converge in their numbers to access Internet connectivity on the various campuses include the library, premises of ICT Units of both the Bauchi Road and the Naraguta Campuses, the Department of Nursing Science, the surrounding environment of the Department of Architecture, the Fine and Applied Arts department and the Quantity Surveying department.