University, college facilities vital for quality learning

Educational Journey with EPHAT MUDENDA
FOR parents and guardians who want to see young people excel in their academic life, their number one concern when considering which university or college their child should attend is quality education.

They are fully aware that campus life is a very important factor for many of those who make it to a higher learning institution.
Those in the academia can attest to the fact that there is more to universities than research and teaching. For the period that one pursues his or her studies, and even long after their graduation, a campus becomes the centre of their life – and in many cases, their actual ‘home’. Immediately a student begins living independently in a place that presents more challenges than those which an individual would have imagined while still at secondary school, the importance of a university’s infrastructure becomes clear. This entails everything that a particular institution offers beyond the lecture theatres and academic sessions.
Of course most universities/ colleges, private ones inclusive, do well to ensure that their faculties are well managed and committed to providing the highest quality of education for students. Such institutions are determined to give their students the highest quality of teaching and to ensure their overall growth. In addition, members of staff may be motivated through good, acceptable conditions of service. However, even if academic activities in a university are of high standards, yet certain infrastructure that is supposed to support the full growth of the learners is lacking, such a place cannot be called a good university or college.
Universities and colleges should have facilities in place for learners to exercise both their bodies and their minds. Facilities that can enhance the students’ well-being include indoor sports courts, outdoor sports courts, outdoor sports pitches, athletics tracks, swimming pools and gyms, among others. These bring to the fore one very important aspect: all those in higher learning centres have a social life. Participating in extra-curricular activities, making new friends and having fun are all part of a university/ college experience.
A student, at one point or the other, will likely require the attention of a medical professional. Therefore, good campuses ensure that they have medical centres with well-qualified doctors and nurses, besides other supporting staff. Matters of safety and security, too, require proper infrastructure within the campus. Those institutions that offer their students accommodation should live by the principle: ‘It is better to be safe than to be sorry’.
While most universities and colleges may appear to be safe, appearances can be deceiving. Just like any other society, these are also susceptible to crime. Therefore, if managements can ensure that the institutional infrastructure and various measures put in place to prevent burglaries, thefts, robberies, rapes, suicides, murders, weapons possessions on the campus and drug abuse violations, among others, are highly effective, then these institutions will prove to be safe havens for learners.
In the 21st century, every student at that level of the education system must surely have access to a computer. This means all good universities and colleges should have facilities that support information and technology (IT) systems. Today, access to the internet is more of a necessity than a luxury. For their research purposes, learners require unlimited internet services. Therefore, provisions such as WiFi access of over 60 percent or 70 percent – excluding areas like sports fields and car parks, etc. – can help them a great deal in their academic endeavours.
In addition to a hygienic campus environment, good library facilities enhance the face of a higher learning institution. A well-stocked library is absolutely indispensable in a university or college. Books on various subjects pursued in the institution should be accessible to all throughout the day. This is regardless of how great a role that the internet has played in the present-day world of technology.
The quality of a university’s social areas includes its support towards the creation and sustenance of associations or societies within the campus. Such are perfect forums where students develop and showcase their leadership skills. These forums do not only offer them a chance to do things that they enjoy, but also add value to their curriculum vitae later in life.
Hostels and common rooms that are properly maintained and have pay-per-view connection, such as DStv, offer students a good environment for perfect relaxation and socialisation. To all these, one may add many more educational-related facilities which are definitely part of the criteria that higher education ‘ranking organisations’ use to generate ‘ranking lists’ for universities and colleges.
Now, considering all these factors, you must know which university or college is good enough for your child, who should have an all-round educational experience that offers opportunities for intellectual, social and personal development.

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