The University of South Africa (Unisa) and MTN, one of the largest mobile telecommunications networks in Africa, has teamed up with each other to give students a major boost for the upcoming May/June 2020 exams.
During the Unisa May/June 2020 examination period, all currently registered Unisa students will receive 30GB worth of data per month for the next 2 months (mid-May to mid-July). The deal will consist of 10GB Anytime Data and 20GB Night Time Data, worth an approximate R59,72m.
The murmurs on social media shows that the free data offered by Unisa and MTN is a step in the right direction. This is especially since the high cost of internet in South Africa would have hindered the student’s ability to complete their online exams.
The university hope that the data will ease student fears on whether they will be able to take part in the exams. The data can not only be used for writing exams but also to partake in other academic activities such as:
- Preparing for exams;
- Submitting assignments; and
- Staying in contact with the university.
“Fast-tracking the introduction of online learning”
Professor Mandla Makhanya, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, stated that due to government intervention and other institutions regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, the university had to fast-track the introduction of online methods to ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible.
Despite Unisa being an Open Distance e-Learning institution, many of its procedures remain physical, including administration and examinations. The Covid-19 pandemic forced the university to restructure its processes, making their applications online only.
At the same time, the partnership with Unisa provides MTN with an opportunity to showcase their network strength and expertise in telecommunications to bring forward a new digital age of learning.
Wanda Matandela, Chief Enterprise Officer at MTN Business, believes that the deal will benefit both itself and the university. The deal will enable continuous learning for Unisa students as well as highlighting the benefits of living a modern connected life in South Africa.
However, some students have raised concern over whether the deal will only benefit current MTN users. Details on how the deal will affect students not on the MTN network will be made known to students leading up to the May/June exam period.
The deal will not affect current data contracts but instead, students can continue to use their own data and cell contracts as per normal.
Published: 16 May 2020