University Of Rwanda first year students that were given Positivo laptops Intel Core i5, under the laptop purchase programme said the computers were expensive and unreliable with some refusing to sign the contracts.
Each computer costs Rwf527,460, which students say is high compared with other quality brands sold in tech shops around town.
Among the students who refused to sign the contracts are those that had a chance to use the ones that were distributed to primary, secondary and higher learning institutes since the programme was launched in 2016.
Students said the computers would function for the first four months and then start to malfunction.
In 2016, the University of Rwanda embarked on smart learning, driven by the government, through a credit scheme to help students get personal laptops.
Under the scheme, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of ICT partnered with local device manufacturer Positivo BGH and the The Ministry of Education then ordered and distributed more than 23,000 computers to public university students, which it continued to undertake to thousands of new students annually.
The first lot of laptops had 2GB RAM and 320GB of hard disk, and were running on Celeron, a low-end processor.
This could not allow certain users, like university students to perform complex functions like coding and install heavy programming.
In an earlier interview with Rwanda Today, Juan Ignacio Ponelli, chief strategy officer at Positive BGH said, upon the request of the government, last year the company started making adjustments on the specifications of the laptops to meet the expectations of consumers, which saw them open a production of i5 and i7 computers.
“Our production commitment volume was 150,000 per year, but the government requested us to reduce to 40,000, which had an impact on the project forcing us to adjust prices to remain relevant,” he said.
However, first year students now say these computers are unaffordable even if they’re given long-term loans.
According to Papias Musafiri deputy Vice Chancellor, Strategic Planning & Administration at the University of Rwanda, high quality i5 laptops have come to help students in specific academic disciplines such as ICT and engineering who for a long time decried low capacity of the previous laptops that couldn’t support their software.
The computers distributed have one terabyte storage capacity, HBB 8GB RAM and Intel core i5 processor.
Cabinet made a decision to increase tuition fees for public universities from Rwf600,00 to Rwf900,000 and Rwf1.5 million to Rwf2 million for non-stem and stem students respectively and also Rwf35,000 monthly stipend from Rwf25,000.