CAPE TOWN – The University of Cape Town (UCT) has zero-rated their webites and will provide laptops to qualifying students as it looks to start the new academic term on April 27.
UCT announced that mobile networks Telkom and Cell C have agreed to provide zero-rated access to their websites. This means that students on these networks will not need data to visit these websites. It will allow all students, irrespective of their socio-economic circumstances, to continue their education and still practise physical distancing to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
The websites included are UCT’s primary website, library, lecture streaming, student platform and any other website which contains adfs.uct.ac.za in its URL.
However, engagements are still ongoing for other mobile networks to reach the same agreement.
UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said she was grateful that her students now have a fighting chance in these unprecedented times.
“When the pandemic has passed, South Africa, like the rest of the world, will need to rebuild in many ways. It is urgent that young people in university are able to continue their programmes online, so they can develop the skills they will need to contribute to South Africa’s development. This is why it is so critical that we all work together in this unprecedented crisis, to ensure that education can continue to prepare our young people to take their places in the world,” said Phakeng.
Furthermore, deserving students who do not have devices to access online learning and its resources will be provided with loan laptops to ensure the most vulnerable continue their education. The university has developed a set of criteria and a survey for students to fill out to determine eligibility. Laptops will be delivered door to door to adhere to physical distancing regulations.
Classes begin on April 27, and from April 20-24, a student online orientation will be held for students to become accustomed to learning in this manner.
For term two at UCT, there will be no formal exams at the end of the semester, assessments will be continuous and no marks will be assigned besides a ‘pass’ or a ‘fail’.
For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter: @sacoronamonitor