South African students to receive 730,000 laptops for online learning

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is aiming to deliver 730,000 laptops to its students to assist with online learning as many are still struggling to get back to universities around the country amid the easing lockdown.

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According to a new tender published on September 4th, universities and TVET colleges will determine the final numbers of students who are eligible for a learning device. The required specifications to fill the tender includes a dual-core processor, at least 4GB or RAM and 500GB of storage and Windows 10 Professional National Academic.

“Accordingly, educational institutions in the interim have adapted to the mode of online teaching to ensure that the 2020 academic year has minimal disruption. To ensure that all students can access the online teaching mechanism, NSFAS aims to assist so as to ensure that students are supplied with an appropriate electronic device in the form of a laptop.”

This tender comes after initial proceedings started on June 26th, where NSFAS requested the supply and delivery of laptops for NSFAS funded students. No acceptable bids were received at the time and a new official tender has now been published to overcome the shortcomings of the initial bids.

“NSFAS issued guidelines to universities and TVET colleges which outlined the process to be followed by institutions to enable speedy processing and delivery of laptops to students. NSFAS has also hosted consultation sessions with relevant stakeholders for alignment and concurrence. Once service providers have been appointed, the digital learning devices (laptops) will be delivered as per new tender bidding specifications.

“The sole purpose of this project is to provide access to digital remote learning for NSFAS funded students, to ensure that no student is left behind. The successful implementation and completion of this project is of paramount importance and priority to NSFAS.”