LSU students struggle with huge data costs

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LUPANE State University (LSU) students have lamented the huge cost of internet data needed to
attend online lectures.

The Covid-19 lockdown regulations on social distancing have forced universities in the country
to move to online platforms after the temporary ban on physical class attendance.
A student who spoke on condition of anonymity said data prices were too high making it
difficult to attend all lessons.

“The issue of e-learning is a strain for me considering the exorbitant data prices. Lectures expect
us to attend 2-hour lectures online, which consumes almost 1,5g data. With Econet, that’s over
$500. So how many lectures will l be able to attend? I have 4 modules,” said the student.
“Last week there was an online exam and most students did not manage to participate. That
obviously will affect their final mark.

“Also with the issue of Zesa, somedays we cannot attend the online classes because there will be
power cuts.”
Another student, Methembe Mpofu said some elderly students at the institution were not
technologically literate and struggled to use online learning platforms.
“Online learning is fairly new to our country and not everyone understands how to use these
platforms. There are basic things that students are supposed to do, such as muting their
microphones, finding quiet places to attend lessons from and even submitting assignments
online,” said Mpofu.

LSU director of marketing and communications Zwelithini Dlamini confirmed that the university
was conducting online lessons via Moodle and Google classroom and WhatsApp platforms.
“Official platforms are Moodle and Google classroom and WhatsApp but the university is not
providing data for the students. However, those who are not able to attend online classes will be
allocated three weeks of learning and then they can sit for their examinations,” said Dlamini.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)

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