The University of Venda and the University of Limpopo are moving ahead with implementing online learning as well as some contact teaching. The University of Venda has however not yet started with the issuing of laptops to its students as it awaits NSFAS procurement processes to unfold. At the University of Limpopo, 95% of students have been provided with laptops.
As universities revise their curriculum models and move to dual learning, which allows in-contact learning and online learning, students at the University of Venda in Thohoyandou are concerned that the migration from traditional learning to online is moving slowly.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led universities to make a shift in their teaching methods. The Student Representative Council at the University of Venda says the distribution of laptops for students has not started. SRC president Gift Chauke says the previous tender to issue the laptops was stopped.
“In the University of Venda we are still waiting, the majority of universities have managed to procure and claim from NSFAS but in the University of Venda there is no student who has ever received any gadget so far. The problem is our university failing to take responsibility because we can see the government is too slow on this thing, issue of tenders and there is also a possibility that these tenders can collapse again. However in University of Venda they always say, they have been distributing tablets from 2016, we want to make it clear that we are not talking about tablets, tablets don’t have space, it is not user friendly like a laptop.”
University of Venda spokesperson Takalani Dzaga admits that the issuing of laptops has not started. Dzaga says the National Student Financial Aid Scheme is finalising the process.
“All first entering students have received their tablets and with regards to those who are interested in getting their laptops, we have been reliably informed that NSFAS is still busy with the process of procurement and it is also important to note that it is incumbent amongst the students themselves to indicate if they are interested in laptops because they will be paid through their allowances.”
In the meantime, students at the University of Limpopo say while laptops have been distributed to over fourteen thousand students, the allocation of data for those gadgets remains a problem.
“There were difficulties in terms of migrating to the online teaching and online learning method but now the university has tried all means necessary to make sure that everyone else is acclimatised to the current system. The only challenge is accessibility because if you remember in the past three months students were given free data so now accessibility became a bit difficult because others did not receive data.”
Spokesperson Kwena Masha says more than 95% of their student have been issued with laptops.
“There are those who indicated that during those surveys that they don’t need, about five thousand of them that they don’t need the gadgets, so basically in terms of the numbers that we had, we can almost safely say we covered more than ninety-five percent of them. It has gone well considering that we had been doing it en masse for the first time.”
Exams are currently under way at both institutions that are now operating at one hundred capacity.