On your own, but not alone

15 June 2021 | Education

Staff reporter

Despite the challenges students are facing with the rising Covid-19 cases, 22-year-old Ruth Harases has found one reason to put a smile on her face during the start of her academic journey with Unam. Ruth Harases, from Swakopmund, never imagined she would one day be the lucky winner of a competition.

“One wonderful outcome of the virtual orientation was that I won a laptop. I have never in my life won anything, not even a simple pen or T-shirt. So, winning a laptop makes me truly happy and grateful,” said Harases.

“I just thought – you know what, let me just try this.”

Unam’s assistant dean for professional services, Tangeni Velikoshi, says the competition was to solicit participation during the university’s first-ever virtual orientation, but also to reduce the financial burden of at least one student.

“A laptop is an important gadget aiding in successful online learning and it is our sincere hope that the winner uses this opportunity to maximise their academic journey,” said Velikoshi.

With the advent of online learning, most students found themselves between a rock and a hard place, trying to find solutions to the digital gap.

Harases counts herself extremely fortunate because she, like many other students, didn’t have a laptop to participate in online learning.

“Winning the laptop enables me to attend classes, complete my assignments and study,” she says.

Although the University of Namibia could only assist one student, Velikoshi implores other institutions to help with what they have, where they can.

“We would like to take this opportunity to encourage and reach out to the public and private sector to seek sponsorships/donations that will aid in assisting our students in any way possible.

“Alternatively, students faced with academic challenges should not suffer in silence, they need to contact the office of the dean of students and together we will explore the best way to assist you in attaining/maintaining academic progress and success,” emphasises Velikoshi.

Other students walked away with Unam promotional goodies and a good sense of what the University of Namibia is all about. First-year law student Paulus Nangolo remarked that the orientation was an eye-opener.

“The programme was informative and helpful, especially to those of us who didn’t know much about the university. I was also lucky enough to walk away with a Unam branded diary and T-shirt,” he said.

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