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Bestmed donation boosts Unisa’s laptop initiative

Unisa received a donation of R120 000 towards purchasing student laptops from the Bestmed medical scheme on 28 September 2020. The donation was presented at the Bestmed offices in Menlyn, Pretoria, to further Unisa’s efforts to address the lack of electronic devices among its student body.

Mr Leo Dlamini, CEO of Bestmed, presents the donation to Prof. Mandla Makhanya, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor

The amount will be used by the Unisa Foundation purchase laptops for students. Approximately 150 000 Unisa students, particularly from poor backgrounds, are said to be without laptops which are to enable them to be part of the university’s digitisation process. The process seeks to ultimately see Unisa’s entire student body able to access study material and write exams remotely.

Mr Leo Dlamini, CEO of Bestmed, commended Unisa for inviting the company to be part of educating people. He said that it was exciting and a privilege to be a part of impacting positively people’s lives, and thanked Unisa for allowing Bestmed the gift of empowering people. “We see the partnership not as an event but as a long-term commitment. We hope to increase the work with Unisa in different aspects and for the partnership to continue long into the future as we resonate with Unisa in many areas which are to ultimately empower young people and make a difference in people’s lives,” said Mr Dlamini.

Further to that Professor Mandla Makhanya, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC), highlighted how Covid-19 had devastated communities across the globe. “Even though Unisa has been hard at work since lockdown, we need to begin to think and plan appropriately and to understand developments in the world and how to prepare for challenges of this nature in the future.

“Pandemics of this nature cause the world to each time cleanse itself from what we have done to it. This time there is no war but there is a war we are responsible for – a war of destroying everything around us. The world has to come to a halt in order to replenish itself in order to be functional again.”    

The VC said that Unisa students have been able to simply continue without any disruptions regardless of what is going on around them. “The calibre of the Unisa student has been mainly the mature one who is at work and is able to take care of their studies,” said the VC. “More recently though, this has changed and the young generation who are directly from schools have begun to enter the university.”

Unisa had previously catered for these young students through its 24 learning centres around the country, providing Wi-Fi and electronic devices to write their assignments online. However, with Covid-19, access is no longer possible because they have to work from home.

The VC said that Unisa was hard at work in raising funds to continue to provide facilities and devices for them to make a success of their studies. “This is the future. Things are not going to change. We are pushing them through these systems and it is working.”

The VC thanked Bestmed for coming to the party to support Unisa with resources. “You may not understand the impact your contribution may have on the students who will receive the laptops,” he said. “These are students who will one day qualify to do something in life as a benefit to society and future generations.”

A Unisa Foundation Project

* Article written by Busisiwe Mahlangu, Communication Coordinator, DIA

Publish date: 2020/10/01