Fort Hare to provide 12,000 student laptops

The University of Fort Hare is providing 12,000 laptops with data to students to assist them with online learning during the Covid-19 lockdown
VIRTUAL LEARNING: The University of Fort Hare is providing 12,000 laptops with data to students to assist them with online learning during the Covid-19 lockdown
Image: SUPPLIED

To assist students with online remote learning, the University of Fort Hare is providing 12,000 laptops — on a loan-to-buy basis — which come with a modem and data to those who do not own the necessary devices.

University spokesperson Tandi Mapukata said online learning was necessitated by the disruption of the academic programme caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the daily escalation of infection rates, particularly in the Eastern Cape.

“The university will henceforth incorporate online and remote learning models as one of the delivery strategies for its programmes — applicable during this period as well as post-lockdown — to recover the academic year,” Mapukata said.

The devices will be made available to students who do not yet own a laptop on a loan-to-buy scheme and the cost will be debited to students’ fee accounts.

In addition, the university will provide students and staff with monthly data.

Mapukata said the university was not in a position to switch over fully to online teaching and learning.

“However, learning materials continue to be uploaded on Blackboard and a moratorium has been placed on all assessments.

“When it is safe to bring students back to campus, the university will pursue blended delivery methods which will require our students to have all the tools necessary to recover lost time.”

She said they were aware  this would not solve all the difficulties students were encountering during this unusual time, but that the shift would equip students with new skills and flexible working and learning practices, and help to catapult the university into a new dispensation of fully digitised systems and processes.

“Ensuring that every student has a laptop and data will significantly bolster teaching, learning, supervision and research activities that are now under way through our online learning management system.”

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