Students get free data to commence with online learning

Scores of students at the University of Limpopo (UL) have expressed excitement to resume the academic programme after receiving free 30GB of data from the institution to embark on online teaching and learning that commenced on 11 June

Due to the protracted Covid-19 lockdown, the university switched to online teaching and learning through its Multimodal Emergency Remote Teaching and Learning to salvage the 2020 academic year.

All students who indicated the need for assistance with mobile data through a survey, and have verified their current cellphone numbers, have received a monthly 30GB of data (10GB anytime and 20GB night time) across the country’s mobile network operators (MNOs). In a statement to the students, the university’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Mahlo Mokgalong said that the service was at no cost to students and was valid for three months from the date of top-up.

Overcoming the data challenge came as a huge relief to the students when they received an SMS confirming the free data on their personal contacts on Thursday, 11 June, which was followed by heaped praises towards the institution. One such enthusiast is second-year Bachelor of Social Work student Moshibudi Makola from Legae la Batho in Polokwane, who is thankful for the mobile data top-up. “For me, having data means having access to important information to fulfil my academic duties. In as much as we are far from the physical libraries, we can still access the Internet for online libraries and books,” she said.

Another student in her final-year of the Bachelor of Accounting Science degree, Hunadi Tema from Ga-Mphahlele, said “since I’m in a rural area experiencing poor network coverage, data for online learning would be costly for me. I am so relieved that UL has taken off the burden. I can now download learning materials. I appreciate the effort for us to continue with the academic programme.”

A BCom Honours (Human Resources) student from Mokopane, Charmaine Kekana said that she struggled to participate in the UL survey,  which was meant to establish the level of assistance students needed for online learning. “I made some mistakes and wanted to correct them, but could not retake the survey due to lack of data. Fortunately, staff members from the ICT division of the university helped me to correct my mistakes,” she said, adding that, in the end the survey was very fruitful.

According to the UL ICT Executive Director, Isaac Maredi, students who have completed the survey and are yet to receive data bundles due to MNOs’ operational glitches will be conveniently assisted. “Such students will be contacted directly to iron out issues such as wrong contact numbers provided and network coverage by MNOs among other things,” he explained.

Maredi further outlined that just about 5000 students did not respond to the survey “and at the moment they can't be provided with data as we do not have their updated details. Management will over the next few days decide on how best to cater for them - one option is to run a dedicated survey for them to provide their details.”


Date created:2020-06-23 18:04:46