University Recoups Money For Student Laptops

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Students from a KwaZulu Natal university have had to make more with less after they received money as well as the equipment the money was intended for. 


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Students from a KwaZulu Natal university have had to make more with less after they received money as well as the equipment the money was intended for.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande was responding to questions in parliament where he revealed that students at the University of Zululand received laptops as well as the funding intended to purchase laptops.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides R5 200 to students who benefit from the scheme to purchase learning materials. Students can opt to purchase learning material. Students can also use this money to purchase laptops.

The University of Zululand indicated that 438 students received both the learning materials allowances as well as laptops.

Nzimande said, “The University recovered the upfront R5 200 that students received as a once off payment. The University deducted the amount over the remaining period of the 2021 academic year from the students’ meal allowances”.

The Minister did however say that the students received their laptops and did not have to forfeit any money from their meal allowances to pay for their laptops.

The Covid-19 pandemic also caused a change in the way students learned. In order to limit the spread of the virus, students had to adopt a blended approach to learning. While some students could work from home with relative ease, many rely on the universities to access the internet.

These connectivity challenges prompted the department to provide learners with mobile data which they could use while working from home. The minister revealed that 14 universities reported that 100% of their students received data. These Universities include CPUT, MUT, SPU, UCT, UFS, UJ, UKZN, UMP, UP, UNISA, UNIZULU, UWC, WITS, and WSU.

Rhodes University (RU) and the University of Venda (UNIVEN) reported the lowest percentage of students were provided with data. According to Nzimande, RU reported that 13% of their students received data while UNIVEN had a 45% coverage.

Nzimande says that students who are on university campuses do not always require data because they can access the university's wi-fi.

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