Remote learning during pandemic

Walter Sisulu University spends R98m on student laptops

06 October 2020 - 13:23
By Yoliswa Sobuwa
Walter Sisulu University Mthatha campus.
Image: File Walter Sisulu University Mthatha campus.

Walter Sisulu University (WSU) has invested R98m to assist 22,500 students with remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The university said laptops were distributed in just over two months to students from different parts of the Eastern Cape.

WSU is one of the institutions where students complained about not being able to be part of the online learning as they did not have devices and a number of them were from rural areas.

WSU’s executive director of information and communication technology and operations Sinethemba Mpambane said this was one of the biggest challenges for the university.

“The university had to travel from town to town to make the laptop deliveries to areas where students are based. We had to use courier services for our students in other provinces. The transport and accommodation costs for staff alone amounted to the total sum of R1m,” Mpambane said.

He said the process of delivering laptops was not smooth and was disrupted after 18 staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

"We had to halt operations for a week in order to source a new group of workers as a stopgap measure to complete the task,” Mpambane said.

He said the university has 30,000 students on four campuses in East London, Butterworth, Mthatha and Queenstown.