Catholic University of Mozambique pioneers powerful print solution and check out the latest Ricoh br

Catholic University of Mozambique pioneers powerful print solution

Catholic University of Mozambique (Universidade Católica de Moçambique in Portuguese) runs a tight ship on a tight budget. It faces numerous pressures, including enormous geographical expanses that demand distance learning facilities, rapidly growing student enrolments, and, chiefly, private funding that dictates scrupulous budget control.

It was founded in August 1996 by the Mozambican conference of Bishops at a time when higher education was only available in the capital, Maputo. Initial student enrolment growth was slow but enrolments have quickly picked up and the trend has continued so that to date more than 7 000 students have graduated the Catholic University of Mozambique.

The private institution doesn’t have access to state budgets. It manages its academic programme through tuition fees and occasional private-public scholarships.

G and D Distributors Nelspruit is a Ricoh Authorised Distributor Platinum Partner. The business began operations in 1999 as a wholly owned Ricoh company. In 2010 the now private company expanded its area of operations to include Mozambique, in whole covering the entire Ehlanzeni Region, mainly in Mpumalanga but including areas as far afield as Limpopo and Swaziland. In Mozambique the business, called Companhia Vemelha Limitada, offers its full range of services throughout the country, even up to Nampula and Tete.

The two private organisations first encountered one another two years ago. Catholic University of Mozambique had already bought a Ricoh production printer in an attempt to meet the burgeoning demand for examination papers, curriculum materials, and other faculty and student requirements. However, the university was still forced to outsource most of its printed course materials to contract suppliers, an expensive option.

The university acquired a second Pro 8120 and added to its Ricoh production portfolio at its facility in Beira. It finally had the equipment necessary to produce examination papers required by a growing body of students. Distribution of papers and marking were, however, difficult and costly in the distributed distance learning environment as well as adding time to the process of facilitating student learning and graduations.

Manual marking of examination papers also added time and, as with any manual, paper-intensive process, errors creep in and papers are lost or destroyed, reducing the university’s effectiveness in serving the needs of its primary customers, its students.

So Companhia Vemelha Limitada collaborated with Catholic University of Mozambique to implement Remark. Remark is software that helps organisations create and print their own forms, on plain paper, then scan completed “fill in the bubble” multiple choice answers on virtually any scanner. The software then helps people analyse the data or allows them to export it to a variety of applications. In the case of Catholic University of Mozambique examination papers are checked almost immediately and results returned to students extremely rapidly, proving particularly cost-effective, accurate and rapid in the distance learning environment.

Catholic University of Mozambique’s students are scattered throughout the 10 provinces of Mozambique, a country of around four million people covering an area of nearly 800 000 square kilometres and stretching a slender 2 300 kilometres from north to south.

The institution has six faculties in four provinces:

  • Faculty of Economics and Management (Beira);

  • Faculty of Law (Nampula);

  • Faculty of Education and Communication (Nampula);

  • Faculty of Agriculture (Cuamba);

  • Faculty of Health Sciences (Beira); and

  • Faculty of Tourism Management and Information Technology (Pemba).

It has research centres in:

  • Nampula (Konrad Adenauer Research Centre);

  • Beira (Centre for Geographic Information;

  • GEA-Consult, Medical Research Centre); and

  • Chimoio (Study and Research Centre); as well as

  • A distance education centre (Beira) for teacher education.

Its strategy to bring higher education to more people saw the institution open faculty delegations in:

  • Chimoio for Economics and Law;

  • Nampula for Economics;

  • Beira for Information Technology;

  • Tete for Economics; and

  • Quelimane for Information Technology and Law.

With its distributed environment, a central facility in Beira and smaller outposts in provincial centres, Catholic University of Mozambique has onsite office administration and student service requirements that include printed material. These were previously met by a gaggle of onsite multifunction devices of various description. However, Catholic University of Mozambique’s strict budgets required a cost-effective solution that meets the needs of its growing faculty and student body with the requisite service and support in far flung, outlying regions.

Companhia Vemelha Limitada standardised the institution’s equipment on Ricoh MPC 3003SP colour multifunction devices that scan, print, copy, and optionally fax. The devices can produce 30 pages per minute, posters, even print on 300gsm paper, and offer comprehensive finishing options that mean Catholic University of Mozambique faculty and students can produce professional, finished documents themselves.

Companhia Vermelha Limitada coupled PaperCut software to these robust and capable devices. In essence, Catholic University of Mozambique can subsequently track all printing across all the devices and analyse the information from its central facility in Beira. Prints are also secured. That means students and faculty can use the same equipment, no matter the sensitivity of the material, since people must be present using student or faculty ID cards swiped at the device to produce prints from the queue. That feature also cuts down the use of paper and toner (with a subsequent impact on machine wear). A curiosity of printers in communal environments is that people tend to send many jobs to printers and never collect them. With the card swipe system that waste is nearly eradicated, saving the institution tens of thousands of meticais annually.

The upshot of Catholic University of Mozambique’s collaboration with Companhia Vermelha Limitada is that it now cost-effectively and rapidly produces the bulk of its own examination, course, and other faculty and student material in its own facility. It has slashed operational overheads in the marking process and axed time taken to return results to students. It has also gained an error-free process with data to analyse to make even more improvements to the marking system and process. In its distributed daily operational printing environment it has been able to provide an affordable, efficient, effective and secure solution to faculty and students and it has the necessary support and service from a reliable partner throughout Mozambique’s extensive geography.

These outstanding benefits have set the stage for Catholic University of Mozambique’s emerging requirements as it not only enters, but also facilitates, the modern digital era.

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