(Published - 29 April 2020)
Dear Campus Community
As you know, the University has commenced with our flexible learning and teaching plan, to ensure that students are able to complete the academic year despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown.
While not everyone was able to participate in remote learning and teaching immediately, we have been hard at work identifying students with access constraints. In recognition of these student access constraints, the University requested that students complete a questionnaire that indicated data needs.
Based on the information gathered from the student needs questionnaires, I am happy to report that the University will make the following data package available to these students:
- 10GB of daytime data per month; and
- 20GB of nighttime data per month.
We have been able to negotiate the data packages at a reasonable cost to the University, thanks to the cooperation of network providers. However, we will only supply the data for three months, effective from 1 May 2020. The University is exploring more financially sustainable models beyond this period and we will share more information as it becomes available.
It is important to note that we will only be able to make this data available to the 7 500 students in need who responded to the Registrar’s call to come forward and communicate their data-related challenges. These students will be informed in due course how the process to receive data will unfold.
Please note that the data package is in addition to the already agreed-upon zero rating of core academic sites, including the UWC website and the Ikamva student learning management system.
We are in discussions with mobile providers to come to an agreement on other zero rating options for core services and websites that may not qualify as direct academic content, but are an important part of successful studies (Gmail, Google Meets, Google Drive, Zoom, etc.).
We are doing all we can to ensure that all students have access to the resources they need to succeed during these challenging times – ensuring that No Student Will Be Left Behind.
I wish all of you well as we move into a new phase of learning and teaching for higher education, as a nation and a global society – and I am proud that we have come together as a University to do so.
I also want to ask that you please help to spread the message about the #NoStudentWillBeLeftBehind appeal, so that our students have the best possible chance to complete the 2020 academic year.
Thank you all.
Professor Vivienne Lawack
Acting Rector and Vice-Chancellor