No laptops, no online learning, says MUT SRC
DURBAN - STUDENT leadership at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has criticised the slow roll-out of laptops for students, funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
The student representative council (SRC), led by the EFF student command, stated that more than 75% of the students at the university were funded by NSFAS.
The SRC was reacting after NSFAS said it was expecting its first batch of laptops, for students who are registered at a public university or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) colleges, on April 18.
MUT SRC president Mthokozisi Gumede said the 2020 academic year was hard for many of the university’s students, as they battled to learn online.
“Many of our students in the university come from rural areas and that is proven by the amount of students funded by NSFAS. Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, promised us laptops before the start of the academic year,” said Gumede.
He said the distribution process for the laptops should have been rolled out much earlier.
“We are in the middle of April and other universities have already begun with online learning, yet NSFAS says we must register (to receive laptops). When will they start distributing? We are sure that, by June, we will still have many students who are yet to receive their laptops,” said Gumede.
There were violent protests at the university last week, as both students and staff held demonstrations.
The staff, led by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), downed tools at the start of the month over a deadlock in salary increase negotiations.
The students, on the other hand, are demanding laptops for students and campus registration, among other issues.
Chief corporate service officer at NSFAS Sibongile Mncwabe said they have developed an online order portal for students to order their devices on their website.
Mncwabe said that students would have to provide all their details and documentation in order for their applications to be processed.
However, she said that non-NSFAS funded students who required a device should consult their institution, as they will remain responsible for the payment.
“They must, therefore, agree to the payment terms as defined by the institution,” said Mncwabe.