NSFAS launched their Digital Learning Device Programme to help students access online learning and has since delivered thousands of these devices to students across the higher education sector. Now, deliveries of laptops are still underway with further negotiations happening.Advertisement
In NSFAS mission to make sure that students across the country were able to engage in online learning programmes, which became the new norm, the financial aid scheme set out to bridge gaps, placing TVET students as a priority.
NSFAS ordered their first batch of 170 000 laptops in February with 160 000 going to TVET students and the rest to University students. NSFAS submitted a list of 61 808 students to the service provider, 59 962 of these being TVET students and 1 846 university students.
The Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, has said:
As of 1 September 2021, the service provider delivered 51 976 laptops to the TVET sector. An additional 10 799 laptops was delivered on the 22 September 2021.
Some Universities had their own plans in place to provide students with laptops and those Universities which could not afford to do so, had the help of NSFAS.
Nzimande said that students who needed laptops varies widely across universities from 0% to over 70%, across 18 Universities.
University students who receive a NSFAS laptop will then have their learning material allowance be used for it. At the beginning of the year, NSFAS bursary holders receive R5200 for learning devices and materials.
The demand for universities is based on applications from students.
The Minister went on to applaud NSFAS and higher education institutions who have provided students with laptops and data. The Department of Higher Education released a statement saying:
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, hails the implementation of differentiated schemes across the university and TVET system to support students to obtain digital devices and the provision of data to support learning and teaching.
The department went on to say that even though there were some glitches, “this is proving to be significant progress and intervention”.
Negotiations are underway to provide TVET students with data as well. Majority of Universities have been provided data to students.
“Most universities report between 95% to 100% of students who have access to data. The zero-rating of departmental and public institutions’ websites is 97% completed,” read the statement.