In keeping with its reputation as a progressive entity that recognises the value of technology in delivering a superior student experience, the Polytechnic of Namibia recently scored another technological first. At the end of September, the institution elected its Students Representative Council (SRC) members by means of electronic voting, thanks to a Mobi Election System developed by Adapt IT.
According to the outgoing SRC Secretary General, Kyllikkie Hamutumwa the fact that the election was done this year using electronic means is very exciting for the institution. She suggests that this is a milestone for the Polytechnic, one which comfortably falls in line with its transformation into the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).
Juanita Frans, Manager: ITS systems in the Computer Services Department adds that this is, in fact, the first time in Namibia that an election of this nature has been conducted. “Everyone knows the usual paper-based method of voting, but this year our students were instead afforded the luxury of casting their votes via cell phones or laptops, from wherever they were and at any time during the stated election period.”
“What really stands out for me is that the election results were available immediately after the election period officially closed. This was in stark contrast to last year, when the counting took several days to complete, even though the Poly Electoral Committee and staff were involved in counting throughout the night.”
According to Amanda Lubbe of Adapt IT, the company that developed the Mobi Election System, the Polytechnic of Namibia was the Beta Site for this product. She states that the success of the SRC election is a clear demonstration of the potential this new product offers.
“The mobi election system enables an institution to set up any kind of election, as required. Voting then takes place via mobile devices or the Web, using the same environment. Moreover, results are updated immediately and displayed in a dashboard format,” says Lubbe.
“Additional security allows for a group of authorisations to sign on before elections results are official, thereby eliminating the concern that only one person is held responsible. While we have developed this solution to assist the Polytechnic with its voting process, it is a product we designed in such a way that it can be utilised by a wide range of customers, for a wide range of requirements.”
Frans points out that the Polytechnic has something of a reputation for being the first when it comes to innovating with regards to the adoption of technology.
“We were the first institution to release examinations results using SMS and online access, as far back as 2006. This was followed by the provision of online registration and, just a few months ago, we launched our online application system. Clearly, the online voting system is just another one step along the technological path we are eagerly travelling.”
“IN fact, following the success of the SRC elections, during which over 2 600 students voted in the three and half day period allocated for the elections, we quickly decided to utilise the self-same system for our housing committee election, which also went off without a hitch.”
Lubbe reckons that Adapt IT is well known for its own technological firsts and as such, wishes to congratulate the Polytechnic on achieving yet another such milestone of its own. “We are particularly happy to have had the opportunity to contribute so extensively to the institution once again making history,” she concludes.