Science students showcase innovations to National Bank officials

Thirteen final-year students from the Department of Physics and Electronics in the School of Natural and Applied Sciences were hosted by National Bank's Department of Information and Technology (IT) in Blantyre on 28th June, 2024, where they showcased three innovations. The students were led by their course lecturer, Mr. Patrick Mzaza. 

The Department of Physics and Electronics has been collaborating with the industry to solve some of the challenges different institutions are facing. Mr. Mzaza expressed excitement over the three systems the students showcased, as they address the challenges the bank is facing. The systems the students showcased included the Auto Teller Machine (ATM) monitoring system, which monitors the temperature and humidity surrounding the ATM; a system for monitoring the parameters of the genset; and a system for monitoring the bank’s systems in terms of transaction queues and CPU memory usage. He said these kinds of technologies and systems have the potential to improve the operations of the bank.

“What the students have demonstrated gives us positive hope that they will contribute significantly to advancing technology in this country. Their efforts align with the goals outlined in Malawi’s Agenda 2063,” Mr. Mzaza said.

He further stated that although the students have brilliant ideas, they lack financial support. He appreciated those in the industry who have begun to show interest in supporting the students and urged further collaboration between the industry and the university.

The Head of IT at National Bank, Mr. Christopher Chilenga, was impressed with the students’ projects. He stated that universities are centers of excellence and believed that they have brilliant ideas for addressing some of the challenges society faces, unlike those in the industry who barely have time to think of solutions for their sectors.

“At National Bank, as part of our strategy, we have an aspect called collaborations and partnerships because we recognize that we do not have all the necessary answers to the problems in our services and products. We need somebody who can contribute to the solutions,” Chilenga said. 

The students expressed gratitude to the bankers for their endless support towards their projects. Miss Bridget Matilesi, a Bachelor of Science in Electronics student at UNIMA, stated that their hard work, unity among students and lecturers, and the courses they have been learning assisted them in developing the innovations. She further stated that their innovations are reliable and will solve many problems. She also urged other companies to support the department in other projects, present their problems, and let the students develop systems to solve them.

During the session, there was an open discussion that included questions from the bank’s officials. The aim of the discussion was to help students take note of crucial suggestions to be to be included in the developed systems. The session concluded with a symbolic cheque presentation of MK2,883,810.70, meant to assist the students in finishing their projects. The bank also gave the students and staff members branded National Bank items.