Nzimande: NSFAS students to receive free data for three months

Good news for students. The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande, on Saturday 23 May, announced that NSFAS students, including Funza Lushaka students, will receive free data for three months starting on 1 June. 

In a briefing detailing the measures the sector will be taking in response to COVID-19, Nzimande said the department has acknowledged the cost of connectivity. 

"[It] can create a huge barrier for students who need to make use of digital learning," he said. 


Nzimande said the department has successfully negotiated with all mobile network operators and have settled on very favourable rates for NSFAS students including Funza Lushaka students. 

Nzimande said those students will receive 10GB daytime and 20GB night-time data for three months starting from 1 June until August. 

"NSFAS and Funza Lushaka students must ensure that they register their cellphone numbers with their respective institutions," said Nzimande. 

Nzimande also emphasised that the data for "needy" students must be used for dedicated online educational platforms for teaching and learning as approved by institutions. 


Apart from the big data announcement, Nzimande also provided a brief explanation of when and how students would return to campus.

Under level 4, the department allowed for the controlled return of final year students in programmes requiring clinical training. Medical students have been returning to clinical training platforms from 11 May and other final students in other programmes requiring clinical training will begin returning from 1 June 2020. 

Under level 3, a maximum of 33% of the student population will be allowed to return to campuses and residences on condition that they can be safely accommodated and supported in line with the health and safety protocols as directed by the department. 

"Should Level 3 be announced to begin on 15 June, then students would be recalled to start two to three weeks thereafter. In other words, a period of two to three weeks will be given to allow students to travel back to their campuses," said Nzimande. 

"Under level 2, a maximum of 66% of the student population will return to campus for teaching, learning and assessment in line with the set criteria. Under level 1, it is expected that 100% of the student population should return to campus. We are therefore going to require the strictest enforcement of physical distancing and health protocols," he added.