News & Events

More than six thousand laptops distributed to students

Unisa’s highly successful rollout of laptops to qualifying students funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students has passed the 90% completion mark.

Says project leader Mavis Sibanda, Deputy Director in the Office of the Registrar: ‘To date, 93% of scheduled laptop deliveries have been completed by the 12 major suppliers participating in the programme, with a further 90% having been completed by enterprise supplier development entities. In total, all suppliers delivered 6176 laptops to students as at 11 June 2019.’

A bright future beckons for these students with their new laptops

Smiles all round as a student receives her Unisa laptop from Mavis Sibanda (left), Deputy Director in the Office of the Registrar

Sibanda says that the distribution cuts across all provinces, and that the process is ongoing.

The rollout is the culmination of a process jointly spearheaded by Unisa’s Office of the Dean of Students and Office of the Registrar. The university’s concerted thrust to bring world-class education into the lives of students across Africa and, indeed, the world, is powered by the open distance and e-learning (ODeL) teaching and learning model. It goes without saying that one of the main cornerstones of ODeL is unhindered access to information and communications technologies, but the cost of such access and devices is a major obstacle to many students. ‘This,’ says Sibanda, Deputy Director in the Office of the Registrar, who is managing the initiative, ‘is why Unisa embarked on a mission to ensure that many thousands of our deserving but financially constrained students are issued with laptops.’

Supplier and student comments

Teresa Marais from Mastomax said that laptops are a very important tool for part-time students studying at a university, and not a luxury. ‘I am extremely relieved to see students receiving laptops and access of internet to communicate with their lecturers and submit their assignments on time,’ she said.

Zama Mdlopane, a project leader from Corridor Africa Technologies, said ‘It's quite an eye-opener and an extraordinary experience to see the students smile after receiving their laptops. Helping one another is fulfilling.’

Nolwazi Mlambo, a Bachelor of Education student, said ‘I am very excited with my new laptop, it will help me with my assignments and exam preparation. Thank you, Unisa.’

Magakwe Mogalatsela, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology student, said ‘I am very grateful for the laptop. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I think from now on, my studies will be much easier and it's all thanks to Unisa.’

Tshepo Nkuna, a Bachelor of Education student, said his experience has been really challenging, however this laptop will be useful to his studies because he won't be going to Unisa campus to access the computer lab. ‘From now on, I have enough time to do some of my online modules at home,’ he said.

Thabang Maake, a Public Administration and Communication Facilitation student, said before getting a laptop it was hard to do his assignments. ‘I will use the laptop for most of my studies without going to the campus. I'll just type everything and submit online. It will change the way I approach my studies because everything will be easy for me and I won't have an excuse not to submit my work on time. The laptop will increase my chances of succeeding with my studies because myUnisa operates mostly online. I’ll be able to access my material on time even if I have not received a hard copy.’

Pauline Kotloko, a Bachelor of Education student, said ‘I am very happy to receive a laptop from Unisa and I will spend less on transport. This laptop will help me to prepare online modules on time and also to read, as sometimes we can't afford prescribed books. Everything at Unisa is found online so with my laptop I will be able to access everything easily.’

* By Lesego Ravhudzulo (Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement) and Philip van der Merwe (Editor, Department of Institutional Advancement)

Publish date: 2019/06/20