First batch of laptops for NSFAS beneficiaries to be delivered in March
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ONLINE learning has not been the only method of teaching and learning for higher education institutions, said Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology.
“We must not equate the provision of online access to teaching and learning as the learning process has not only involved online activity. Study materials have been delivered to points where students reside,” he said.
Ndzimande on Monday addressed the department’s plans for reopening at tertiary institutions as a result of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic which has forced the country to go into level 3 lockdown.
He said there were multimodal methods which included online work, resources being delivered and TV and radio broadcasts. The minister said that one of the current focuses was on 0-rated educational websites.
Nzimande also brought attention to the accomplishment of some universities which have done exceptionally well beyond just the provision of online learning.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme CEO Andile Nongogo said at least five providers have been selected to provide NSFAS beneficiaries with laptops.
“Laptops will be delivered in batches. The focus will be on delivery of the first batches of laptops before the start of the 2021 academic year in March. We understand that in the (each university) system we have over 720 odd beneficiaries and it is not possible to deliver all those laptops in one go,” said Nongogo.
He explained that NSFAS was still in engagements over the laptop deals and warranties.
“I think what is important with warranties is that while a machine may be broken, there needs to be a process for a student to get a replacement laptop while the other is being fixed.
“Those are the mechanical details that we are working on now. Indeed, within the next two weeks or so, we will then issue the guidelines and also the specific timelines as to when these laptops (will be delivered) and to which institutions will start with those first batches,” he said.
National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) in a statement encouraged NSFAS to work with institutions in relation to the laptop project and fast-track the delivery of the gadgets to all NSFAS students before the academic year starts in 2021.
“We are vehemently opposed to the exclusion of students due to the non-delivery of gadgets which has resulted in many students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds not completing their academic year in 2020,” the union statement read.