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By News24 Wire

Wire Service

UCT provides pre-paid data at no cost to students for online learning

MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom have also agreed to zero rate access to certain UCT sites.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is in the process of providing data to its students to allow for online learning.

“Each student will receive 30 to 40GB depending on their network provider, valid for 30 days, during the course of this week. The first batch of students started getting their data on Monday,” the institution said in a statement.

The university is also establishing an additional system to distribute printed learning materials and USB drives for students who cannot access the internet in any form.

It said it was providing “unusual levels of support” to students during the coronavirus crisis, including transportation when residences were vacated and closed before the lockdown, laptops on loan to students and an online orientation programme for emergency remote learning.

MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom have also agreed to zero rate access to certain UCT sites.

“This important development will enable UCT students to learn online at no cost via these UCT sites: the UCT primary website; library website; Open UCT; the Vula student platform; Opencast lecture streaming; and web authentication ADFS [any URL that contains adfs.uct.ac.za].

“It is important to note that authentication itself, via adfs.uct.ac.za, is zero-rated. Should staff or students be authenticating to a site other than the ones listed as zero-rated, that site will incur data charges.”

Vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng in a communique on Monday said the university was making every possible effort to complete the academic year successfully, despite the enormous challenges.

“This has involved an incredible level of commitment by academics, tutors, faculty members, professional and support staff across UCT. In a very short time, they have adapted lesson plans to ensure that class materials and lectures are available to students during lockdown.

“The plan makes full use of the university’s investments in technology, infrastructure and expertise developed over the past few years – all part of UCT’s long-term plan to create the best possible teaching and learning environment.

“Digital connectivity, for instance, gives students more flexibility in managing their course assignments, and the convenience of reviewing lectures and asking questions online at any hour.”

Phakeng said ensuring every student completing the academic year successfully was UCT’s primary focus.

“The entire university is invested in getting every student through this difficult period, both academically and emotionally. We will continue to assess what works, identify problems and develop solutions. We are determined to conclude the academic year with as little delay as possible.”

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