Banking group Absa has sponsored learning devices and mobile data valued at R5-million to Universities South Africa (USAf).
USAf and Absa plan to distribute the devices to six identified universities to enable online or remote learning for students.
The Vaal University of Technology and the universities of KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and the Western Cape will each receive 200 devices, while the universities of Limpopo and Venda will each receive 100 devices.
The institutions have identified the students and extent of need and will devise their own distribution strategies.
“Absa’s contribution undoubtedly eliminates a major challenge for at least 1 000 vulnerable students at our universities. If we are to succeed in our resolve to enable every single student to complete the 2020 academic year, then providing them with these devices and data is inevitable,” said USAf CEO Professor Ahmed Bawa.
The initiative aims to target the “missing middle” as the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation focuses on the laptop needs of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme-funded students across institutions.
“We have a well-established commitment to provide access to higher learning across the continent. Remote learning is now a necessity, and there are many students who do not have the means to access their education in this way. We decided to provide this additional support to students who otherwise would be severely disadvantaged during this academic year and in the future,” added Absa Group CEO Daniel Mminele.