Glitches within a new IT platform designed to reduce queues at the University of Botswana, have brought fresh chaos for students as the semester begins, with delays in the release of 2014 results and late supplementary exams.
Gremlins within the integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (iERP) at the University of Botswana (UB) have led to the delays in the release of the results of the 2014 second semester and supplementary exams.
Even as students battled to access their results, classes resumed at the University on Monday, leaving many in the lurch. Some students were also unable to sign up for courses as the self-registration system within the iERP malfunctioned.
Mmegi found clusters of frustrated students grouping around the Wifi zones attempting to register on Monday.
Learners and staff members who spoke to Mmegi on condition of anonymity, said the software platform had been plagued by glitches for sometime.
Students revealed that the iERP could not reflect their semester end results as it had been designed to do. As a result, many spent the festive season unaware of their grades.
A second year Archaeology student said she only saw her marks a week ago.
“The system is very flawed. I could not access my results since most of them were not reflective as we were promised,” said the student.
Another said the University needed to discard the IT platform and invest in a new one.
“The system is always down. It’s not efficient especially considering that it’s a system,” said the third year Humanities student.
A senior lecturer noted that the system had a tendency of blocking students from re-accessing the UB. These are learners who had been discontinued after dismal performances.
“It’s a headache for such students to self register as well as to be re-admitted into the system as we end up doing so through the old mechanism.
This new system constantly needs to be unblocked by the IT department, and this has slowed the registration process,” said the lecturer.
A first year Business Administration student complained that the delay in results owing to iERP glitches had created clashes as normal classes were disturbed by supplementary exams.
“The two are conflicting as there are not enough lecture rooms for classes and supplementary exams to run concurrently,” the student said. “The delays in registration are likely to affect the entire academic calendar.”
While the UB director of Public Affairs, Mhitshane Reetsang, admitted technical issues surrounding the system, she said she was unaware of clashes between ongoing lessons and the supplementary exams.
Reetsang said the web-based system was in its second cycle of use, having been tested before adoption.
“We are aware of the challenges. We have been experiencing pockets of problems here and there with the system,” she said.
“The IT department is working around the clock to contain and rectify these shortcomings.” She added that a decision was taken to postpone supplementary exams from last week as there were few students sitting for them.
Reetsang admitted that late registration would mean that students and lecturers work extra hours to compensate for the lost time, but “that would not impact badly on the academic calendar”.
“I don’t think it is going to badly disrupt the whole calendar,” she said.
The self-registration web-based system was launched last August after prolonged calls from stakeholders for the country’s oldest university to embrace new technology.
The technology was expected to end the long queues that have traditionally defined UB registration days.