Universities put measures in place amid load shedding and exams

Student studying by candle light as load shedding hits. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Student studying by candle light as load shedding hits. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Nov 12, 2021


CAPE TOWN - Tertiary institutions in the province are in discussions with their students about the impact of load shedding on their studies and how to support them with exams underway.

Exams at UWC began on Thursday, and the institution said where students have not been able to complete an exam or other assessment they would be provided with an opportunity to do so through the normal faculty and departmental processes.

UWC acting spokesperson Nashira Davids said students can access campus and its resources for learning purposes.

“To facilitate online learning and teaching in 2021, the university has instituted an open VPN system so that students do not incur data costs. This is part of the ICS reverse billing (RB) service which allows students to access all UWC information resources for the academic programme without incurring data costs. The service is open to students using Cell C, Telkom, MTN and Vodacom mobile services,” said Davids.

Stellenbosch University (SU) spokesperson Martin Viljoen said the division of student affairs has received complaints on the specific impact on study times as well as online learning and engagement.

“Study material can be downloaded from SUNLearn, SU’s learning management system, to use offline. All the computer-user areas, the SU Library, the Jan Mouton Learning Centre and the Neelsie Student Centre have similar backup generators. A selected number of buildings, including the Study Centre on the Stellenbosch Campus, stay open until at least 10 pm.”

He said the SU Campus Security has increased visibility protection at night.

UCT’s Elijah Moholola said they noted a statement by the SRC raising issues around the availability of study spaces.

The students also called for data provision.

“The UCT executive remains committed to a process of engagement and working with the SRC respectfully and amicably to resolve any issues as and when they arise. In this regard, the executive is scheduled to have a meeting with the SRC to discuss these and any other issues that may arise.”

He said measures already put in place include generators powering some buildings, Jammie Shuttle services extended and study venues closing at 8pm.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) spokesperson Lauren Kansley said they have seen lecturers adopt the adaptive release strategy which is to release an assessment at 8am then give the class 24 hours to complete.

Online assessments are also scheduled to take place on campus so that invigilating is in one place where uninterrupted power supplies are in place.

Cape Times

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