University of Cape Town is now offering pre-paid data to all students at no cost, UCT vice-chancellor and principal Mamokgethi Phakeng announced on Wednesday
This comes after students, parents and political parties raised concerns about the high costs of data and access to internet connectivity in South Africa following the decision to resume online classes at UCT and other universities across South Africa on Monday.
Service providers Cell C, Telkom and Vodacom have now all agreed to zero-rate access to UCT online learning platforms.
“We know that online learning may not be available to every UCT student. UCT is setting up an additional system to distribute printed learning materials and USB drives for students who cannot access the internet in any form”, said Phakeng on Wednesday.
The university said students would now be able to access all online learning material provided by the university without digging deep into their pockets and at no cost.
Phakeng said the university has purchased a data bundle for each student with a valid South African cell number.
Each student will receive 30G to 40G, depending on their network provider, valid for 30 days.
These agreements were negotiated separately with each service provider and students have already started receiving data bundles as from Monday April 21, according to Phakeng.
“When it is safe to return to campus, students who were not able to study online, as well as other students who feel they have fallen behind in their studies, will be able to catch up through a programme of blended learning combined with face-to-face teaching.”
This is how the provision of data works at UCT:
CELL C: 30GB for a month after it is provisioned: 10GB is available during the day, 20GB as part of Cell C’s Nite Data offering from 00:00 to 05:00.
MTN: 30GB for a month after it is provisioned: 10GB is available during the day, 20GB as part of MTN’s Night Express offering from 00:01 to 04:59.
Telkom: 40GB for a month after it is provisioned: 20GB is available during the day, 20GB as part of Telkom’s Night Surfer offering from 00:00 to 07:00.
Vodacom: 30GB for a month after it is provisioned: 10GB is available during the day, 20GB as part of Vodacom’s Night Owl offering from 00:00 to 05:00.