South African university gifts students free data for online learning

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The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, has begun giving out free data to its students as it prepares to commence online teaching and learning.

A student in the university confirmed to EduCeleb.com on Monday that she received a 30 gigerbites of data.

The University gives this to students already registered on any of the four major telecommunications networks in the country – MTN, Vodacom, Cell C or Telkom.

South Africa, with 3,034 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, has been on lockdown to halt the spread.

The public university said, in a statement posted on its website, the “emergency remote online teaching and learning” will begin this Monday, April 20, in order to get the students “back to classes”.

The online learning is for both undergraduate and post-graduate students and covers all the faculties.

Wits said it has 5,000 new laptops for students who would need them.

“Whilst many students are looking forward to starting the second teaching block, we understand that many of you may feel uncertain and anxious about learning online,” the school said.

“We would like to reassure you that we are on hand to support you as we embark on this different learning journey together.

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“The academic programme will be introduced in phases over the next few weeks, so that you have time to adjust to the new learning environment.

“All lectures will be available on our learning management systems and can be downloaded at any time. If you are still waiting for your mobile computing device to be delivered or your data to be connected, do not despair – you can access your lectures and other resources from Sakai or Moodle as soon as you are connected.

“Whilst we will be resolute in our efforts to recover the lost elements of the 2020 academic year, we remain committed to you, our students who are an integral part of the Wits community.

“Wits has negotiated with telecommunications service providers to have learning and library sites zero-rated so that you can access them at no cost to users.”

The authorities told students that they would not be given assignments or tests until 4th May.

“These measures will ensure that students are not academically disadvantaged in any way.”

In Nigeria, universities are also shut due to the coronavirus outbreak and a few of them already offer online classes. However, none of them appears to be offering students some free data like Witwatersrand.

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EduCeleb.com had earlier reported that the First Technical University Ibadan, the Kaduna State University, the Lagos State University, and the Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo are among a few higher institutions that had since reopened classes online for continued learning during the lockdown.

This is as university teachers in most public universities are equally embarking on an indefinite strike over the non-payment of their arrears and other matters meant to revitalise Nigerian universities.

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