Aspen donates 600 tablet devices worth R2.4m to university students
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JOHANNESBURG - The University of Pretoria said on Wednesday its health sciences faculty had received a donation of 600 tablet devices worth R2.4 million from pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmacare to facilitate access to online resources for students from poor backgrounds.
South African schools and universities have been closed since mid-March in an effort to avoid the spread of Covid-19 among students and staff, and remain so even after the government relaxed the rules of a nationwide lockdown on May 1.
Many institutions have adopted online learning, including virtual classes, in a bid to keep up with the 2020 academic calendar.
In a statement UP said the donation would ensure that students had access to their course material, enabling them to complete the 2020 academic year "so that no student is disadvantaged".
To qualify for the free tablets, students must currently be registered with the university, attend classes regularly and provide evidence of being unable to purchase the devices themselves.
The University of Pretoria has received 600 tablet devices worth R2.4 million from pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmacare to facilitate access to online resources for poor students. Photo: Supplied by UP
"The Covid-19 crisis has created a world of hurt and sadness, but it has also allowed the kindness and generosity of the world to shine," said UP chairperson of the school of medicine, Professor Robin Green, who solicited the donation from Aspen Pharmacare, the largest drug company in Africa.
UP said its health sciences faculty was determined to complete the academic year to ensure that South Africa received a cohort of new doctors, dentists and allied healthcare workers.
The 112-year-old University of Pretoria is one of the largest contact and residential universities in South Africa and also the country's largest producer of research.
The Centre for World University Rankings placed it among the top five universities in South Africa for 2019-2020. It also included it among the top 100 universities worldwide in the fields of veterinary science, theology and law and among the top one percent in agricultural sciences, clinical medicine, engineering, environment/ecology, immunology, microbiology, plant and animal sciences and social sciences.