Students yet to receive laptops, data

Protests and national lockdown delayed learning at University of Fort Hare. Students say they are yet to get laptops and data.
Protests and national lockdown delayed learning at University of Fort Hare. Students say they are yet to get laptops and data.
Image: Rod Bally

University of Fort Hare students are uncertain about their future as some have not yet received the promised data, laptops, let alone online classes. The students said the institution was mum on the issue and the catch-up programme.

Onelisa Mgoqi, 26, a final year accounting student said she had hoped to start working this year.

"We have not had any online classes, it seems as if there is no catch-up plan from the management. I become very stressed when I think I will not be able to graduate this year because of an administration issue from our institution," she said.

Mgoqi said they only had two weeks of learning at the beginning of the year which was followed by a month-long protest which was about students who were financially excluded.

"As things were getting to order, the country had a national lockdown. In May, we were told that we will only be getting our laptops at the end of July. Some students meant to graduate in September will not be able to because there has been no teaching," she said.

Another student, Mzukiseni Ngxabani, 20, a second-year student in business management, said the first quarter has been depressing.

"We have been sitting home with no data, no laptops... Some students cannot even apply for jobs as they are struggling to get their academic records from the institution. The institution is always telling us about complaints instead of bringing solutions," he said.

University spokesperson Thandi Mapukata said the reason for the delay was that there was no stock in the country due to the high demand.

"We have been informed by the supplier that the first batch of laptops will arrive on July 31. The university has been uploading materials on the Blackboard online platform and some departments have been delivering printed materials students.

"Some are being taught via Zoom, Facebook and WhatsApp groups to try and push the syllabus. The calender is being revised and is most likely going to run until April 2021."  The first group of final year students are expected to be back on campus from July 13.

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