Izana Zaaiman, a student studying accounting sciences, feels that this new online way of completing the academic year is the only way of completing the year without the threat of disruptions. She added that it is difficult to study on your own. “Because I am studying a course that deals with numbers, it takes a lot more effort and time to go through the work on your own.” She hopes that the upcoming examinations will go without disruptions.
Other students are not in favour of the changes that have taken place. Simonè Botha, a law student at UP, is one of them. “Even though the lecturers are available for questions, students can’t go to them for full lectures. It is difficult to do assignments without discussing the work first.” Botha added that this new online way of completing the year’s work is not an effective manner for students to continue working. “Going to class makes learning easier, half of the work is already in your mind before you start learning,” said Botha.
Isolde de Villiers, a lecturer at UP’s Faculty of Law said, “One of the unwanted consequences of online-academy, is that a person’s day disappears in the unsatisfactory answering of e-mails and ClickUP requests.”
Since UP’s announcement, petition calling for an end to e-learning at UP has been set up. The petition’s online statement says that e-learning is “unfair and discriminatory” toward those students who can’t engage in such a mode of teaching. The petition, which was first created on 18 October, has since received just under 200 signatures.
Meanwhile, UP has acknowledged that access to internet is a challenge for a lot of students. In an effort to accommodate those students, UP and Telkom announced that it will provide free internet access to students by using prepaid and postpaid SIM cards. These cards are available at the university and at Telkom stores. On the 20 October, UP announced that the ITS labs in the Technical Services Building on the Hatfield campus will be reopened to allow students to access computers. Students can access these facilities at certain times: between 08:00- 11:00, 11:30 – 14:30 and 15:00-18:00. After each session, the labs will be emptied to allow all students an opportunity to work. Printing facilities will also be available.