Tuesday 2020-07-07

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UNESWA GOES DIGITAL, NO GLIMMER OF HOPE TO REOPEN

By Sicelo Maziya | 2020-05-23

University of Eswatini (UNESWA) has finally adopted online teaching in the advent of the coronavirus pandemic.

The university yesterday announced during at a press conference that the senate met on Wednesday and had adopted the online teaching platform called Moodle.

UNESWA Registrar Dr. Salebona Simelane announced that Moodle would be the official learning management system for all students.

Dr. Simelane said all staff would now teach via this unique system. He said the system would be supported by other platforms such as Zoom, Google Classroom and Google Meet.  

Moodle is the world's most popular learning management system. Dr Simelane said emails and whatsapp messaging applications would remain used for communications only.

He said the online teaching would focus on the theoretical components of courses offered and classes would resume where teaching was disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Simelane further shared that the Senate had noted that the pandemic had imposed a period of uncertainty worldwide, especially in so far as university teaching and assessment were concerned.

He further shared that the senate was aware that some staff members were conducting classes during the two months of the partial lockdown through online teaching methods, a thing that  was commendable.

He stated that the Senate was well aware that there were students who  could not access their course material because of technological challenges.

The registrar added that tests and assignments would be administered online, with practical sessions and examinations conducted on dates to be announced by the university.

Dr. Simelane also announced that the Senate recommended that the university almanac or calendar shall be reviewed accordingly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Dr Simelane could not shed light on when the university would open. He said the university was also monitoring the situation just like any other institution in the country.

“Everything depends on what tomorrow brings. Government shall advise when to reopen. it remains unsafe to reopen amid the coronavirus,” shared Dr Simelane.

He urged the students to only adhere to information that is only from the office of the registrar . He said the use of information from other sources unknown to the university was creating challenges for better communication with students and staff of the university.

“All communication on behalf of the university is done through the registrar,” said Dr. Simelane.

The University of Eswatini (UNESWA) has three campuses at Kwaluseni, Luyengo and Mbabane and was established in 1982 by an Act of Parliament of the Kingdom of Eswatini. The university has a mandate to teach, conduct research and carry out community service.

The university offers certificate programmes, diplomas, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and PhD degrees.

REGISTRATION, PAYMENTS TIMELINES

UNESWA Registrar Dr. Salebona Simelane has  announced that registration at the university would be reopened for a period of one week from1-5 June 2020.

“The private-sponsored students who have not yet registered should pay at least E2 500  and proceed to register online to be able to access teaching material on moodle,” said Dr. Simelane.

He further pleaded with students to ensure that tuition is paid in full by the end of the teaching period.  “Students who wish to drop courses should do so within the registration period.

No refunds shall be made by the university after conclusion of the six weeks of teaching,” emphasised Dr Simelane.

Meanwhile, the deadline for submission of theses for masters and PhD degrees has been extended to Friday, 12  June 2020.

SMARTPHONES FOR STUDENTS

The University of Eswatini has allowed students to utilise their remaining book allowance to get smart phones. 

The university further shared they will provide students with 3 GB data a month for online learning for completing students, which is accessible through the zero rated university website.

“Students shall be allowed to use their book allowance to purchase smart phones from the bookshop,” said Dr Simelane.

He further shared that “students can also purchase data at special rate of E35.00 for 3 GB, E20.00 for 1GB, E15.00 for 500 MB from MTN.  These data are available for use only on the zero rated  university website (URL’s).

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