The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Faculty of Health Sciences received a donation of 600 tablet devices valued at R2.4 million from Aspen Pharmacare to facilitate access to online resources for needy students. The donation will ensure that students will have access to their course material, enabling them to complete the 2020 academic year so that no student is disadvantaged.
Chairperson of the School of Medicine Professor Robin Green reached out to Aspen Pharmacare after UP launched the Solidarity Fund with the intention of acquiring internet-enabled devices for students in dire need. Students who qualify for the tablets have to be registered students who attend classes regularly and are unable to purchase the device for themselves.
“The COVID-19 crisis has created a world of hurt and sadness, but it has also allowed the kindness and generosity of the world to shine. We appreciate the generous donation that Aspen has made to the Faculty to assist students with distance learning and to enable them to continue with the 2020 academic year,” said Prof Green.
The Faculty of Health Sciences is determined to complete the academic year to ensure that South Africa receives a cohort of new doctors, dentists and allied healthcare workers to help maintain the health of society.
“Aspen is humbled to serve South Africa in its time of need, as we work together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The provision of these devices to students not only helps to ensure that they have continued access to online education, but also limits their need for travel. This donation will help curb the transmission risk of the virus as the new academic semester begins. We are deeply committed to supporting the sectors and communities in which we operate, both during the current crisis and in the longer term, as we assist to create sustainable communities in South Africa,” said Stavros Nicolaou, Aspen Pharmacare Senior Executive: Strategic Trade.
Professor Vanessa Steenkamp, Deputy Dean of Teaching and Learning at the Faculty of Health Sciences, emphasised the importance of students having access to technology for remote learning: “We are very grateful to Aspen Pharmacare for the donation of tablets, which will enable the Faculty to keep students on task when they are off-campus. True to THE UP WAY, it has been a priority for us to make every effort to ensure that all students have access to learning material in order to provide each and everyone the same opportunity of completing the academic year successfully."
Online teaching and learning resumed on 4 May 2020. Students can access UP-related websites for free for the duration of the first semester on https://connect.up.ac.za.