It was recently revealed by the University of Limerick Student Union President, Jack Shelly, that over the next three years the University will engage in a big spending of €6.2 million euro on new Wi-Fi for the University.
He told An Focal that the university have granted a new 3 year IT Strategic plan with a value of €6 million euro over the three years, “of this, €1.25 million will be spent on improving Wi-Fi on campus over the next 3 years.”
€560,000 is said to be spent in this academic year, 2017/2018. Next year, 2018/2019 the same amount will be spent on Wi-Fi, and in the year 2019/2020 a further €125,000 will be spent on the provision of campus-wide Wi-Fi.
As well as improved Wi-Fi, the university are also seeking to make several upgrades and improvements on many student computer labs, as well as teaching spaces. Shelly tells An Focal that an estimated €670,000 will be spent on the student labs, and a massive €690,000 will be spent on the upgrading of teaching spaces.
This comes after students have battled day in and day out over the last several years with poor Wi-Fi in key spots on campus – namely the library.
Many students have struggled with the Wi-Fi in peak academic time, notably around assignment deadlines and exam season.
In another statement, Shelly told An Focal that the university lose €6 million annually to student dropout rates.
“Dropout rates for first years in UL is 12% and an overall 24% of students who enrole in UL do not graduate in the course that they started out in.”
Shelly believes the primary reason for a high dropout rate is the inability to adapt to college life.
While there will always be a category of students who will realize their course isn’t suited to them, Shelly felt that the majority of students who dropped out may just have needed a helping hand when they come to college.
Shelly concedes that the university are doing massive work, and working wonders in attempts to try combat the student dropout rate. From the counselling centre and the teaching and learning centres, “but there is definitely more work that needs to be done by the university to help students transition into college life. That is something the SU and the university are working on at the moment.”
The First Seven Weeks initiative has been a massive help in combating students dropping out also, as it is said that students will drop out in the “first seven weeks,” of their college experience, more than likely.
The First Seven weeks is designed to provide strong support to students during the very early weeks of their time as UL students. They provide a range of information and interact with new to help with their successful adjustment. Each of the first seven weeks has its own theme, designed to focus students’ attention on various issues that are important for settling in and thriving as a higher education student.