With the President announcing that we are under a heavier lockdown and online learning being put into place, it is not even more important that students receive the NSFAS laptops they were promised. We have however received an update now as over 90 000 are ready to be distributed.
The Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, held a briefing on Wednesday afternoon to further outline measures to fight Covid-19 in the higher education sector. He then proceeded to also give an update about the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
NSFAS has so far ordered 170 000 laptops. Of these, 90 060 has arrived and is ready for distribution. The rest will be arriving in the country in the middle of July and the middle of September of this year, he said.
The Minister has previously said that by the first week of August, 10 000 to 20 000 laptops will be arriving on a weekly basis.
The Minister went on to give a reason as to why we have seen a delay in laptop deliveries, saying:
To date, University student information as per the NSFAS portal has been slow due to Universities not timeously verifying student details on the NSFAS portal.
This student information is needed to make deliveries to students.
Information of 1846 students has been shared with the providers with 1123 of those students having been delivered a laptop. These students come from the University of Pretoria, the University of the Free State, Durban University of Technology and the University of Mpumalanga.
The Minister then went on to call on Universities to contact NSFAS through the NSFAS portal to ensure that they verify students' information urgently.
As for TVET students, they would not have to order their laptops through the NSFAS portal but NSFAS is said to be prioritising their deliveries.
46 846 TVET students' information has been shared with providers for deliveries to be made. The provider will then get into contact with the student to arrange the delivery of the laptop as TVET campuses are closed.
Of that total, 183 laptops have been delivered to South Cape TVET College students and another 86 has been delivered to students from Central Johannesburg TVET College.
Nzimande also said that they are in the middle of the decade of the artisan which was launched in 2014 as he explained, "we are working towards producing the artisan of the 21st century - no longer just carrying the hammer and the spanner, but now with an electronic gadget as well".