Move to start digital learning system at CPUT
Cape Town – The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has promised a mass delivery of learning materials this week in the hope of soon starting its digital learning system.
The university is the largest in the province, with many of its students coming from previously disadvantaged communities. It is the only university in the province that has not started remote teaching and learning.
In a communique, CPUT management said they did not want to rush any plans and were prioritising the safety and health of their community.
“This week simply signals the start of a differentiated multi-modal approach to learning, which may take the form of e-learning, mass delivery of learning materials in hard copy or memory stick, and other creative ways of completing the 2020 academic year.
They said students who were ready would be allowed to continue, and those who may need more support would be catered for with extra time.
The institution has vowed to provide between 30 and 40 gigs of data to students per month for the next three months.
“Even though the minister’s recommendation was for free data for NSFAS-funded students only, CPUT management will be providing free data for all students. This data will be loaded between June 1 and 3 depending on the network provider.
“We also have a limited number of devices immediately available. These devices will be provided to students on a loan scheme. All CPUT websites are zero-rated for data. However, you need to have a positive data balance in order to benefit from the zero-rated data offer,” management said.
Last weekend Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced a “risk-based plan” for higher education institutions under alert level 3.
Nzimande said depending on a tertiary institution’s capacity, a maximum of 33% of students will be allowed back on campus and residences and final-year students would be prioritised.
In response to this, CPUT said it would identify who would return to campus in the coming weeks.
“This will be a deliberate and phased-in approach and those students will be communicated to directly by their heads of department. In preparation for this gradual return, a number of critical operational elements are now in place to ensure the health and safety of the campus community.”
Student Representative Council (SRC) deputy president Malukhanye Gogo said: “Only 2 500 laptops have been bought so far which will not benefit even a quarter. Our institution is far from starting online learning and teaching, it is just not ready.
"We don’t understand when they say we may not start learning all at the same time but will graduate at the same time. As SRC we will make sure no student is left behind; if it means the academic year drags to next year, so be it.”