File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

WATCH: UWC appeals for public help so no student will be left behind

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Apr 15, 2020

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Cape Town - The University of the Western Cape (UWC) has devised a comprehensive plan to ensure that students complete the 2020 academic year.

However, according to Acting Rector and Vice-Chancellor Professor Vivienne Lawack research has revealed a harsh reality that 30% of the varsity's 24,000-strong student body does not have access to devices like laptops, or even to data, while on lockdown at home. 

"There are grave disparities amongst our students with regard to their socio-economic backgrounds.

"We are therefore turning to you - the public, corporates, alumni and businesspeople - for assistance in our time of need. The Covid-19 pandemic remains unpredictable, and the situation locally and abroad remains exceptionally fluid," Lawack said.

"We appeal to you to donate funds, laptops or similar devices, as well as data, to ensure that no student will be left behind."

While the university's contingencies follow a sectoral approach as agreed on by all universities, Lawack said they have adapted theirs to suit their unique circumstances. 

"UWC has one of the lowest tuition fee structures in South Africa because we pride ourselves as a university that prioritises access for deserving students who otherwise would not afford a tertiary education. It is part of our ethos," Lawack said. 

"Consequently, we do not have the resources that some of the more established institutions have at their disposal. We wish to commence the 2nd term of this semester on 20 April 2020. We will orientate our staff and students to this type of flexi-learning, using a phased-in approach."

Efforts will be as inclusive as possible, with various ways of ensuring that the different categories of students, including students with disabilities, are catered for. The use of print media, PowerPoint presentations, flash drives, etc. will be explored.

"While we strive for academic rigour to be maintained at all times, we seek to guarantee that all our students can begin the term on an equal footing. This is why we need your help," she said.

- Alumni who wish to donate funds or equipment can contact Niven Maree: [email protected]

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Corporates or individuals can donate funds or equipment by contacting Stafford Bomester: [email protected]

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UWC, in association with BackaBuddy, invites ordinary South Africans to commit nominal contributions of R20, R50 or R100 via the relevant online platform:  https://www.backabuddy.co.za/charity/profile/uwc

"Our movements may be restricted, but our collective UWC voice will never be. As a community, we can all make a difference in this extraordinary and challenging time," Lawack said.

Cape Argus

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