BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE


 

The impact of Covid-19 on the educational landscape

The impact of Covid-19 and subsequent shut down of university campuses across South Africa has excluded many students from continuing their studies. This could have a catastrophic effect on success and dropout rates as many students are not equipped and geared for this online learning environment. As a result of this emergency, the need for a Covid-19 Student Relief Fund was realised. After two weeks of persistence, dedication and hard work the fund was officially launched by Feenix on the 29th of May.

How can we all ensure that students are not digitally excluded?

Together we can #CapTheGap and ensure that missing middle students in their final year as well as those in postgraduate studies can complete their year successfully.

The Feenix community believes access to education should not be dependent on wealth and this includes digital access. Students, especially final year undergraduate and postgraduates, need our support now to avoid dropping out or prolonging their studies. By tapping into the power of crowdfunding, our partners and community we aim to raise R6.6 million with the #CapTheGap Relief Fund to equip as many students across the South African public universities with laptops, internet data and food vouchers.

R2 million has already been put forward by the initiative’s main sponsor, Standard Bank. “Standard Bank considers education to be a core pillar that will enable growth of the South African economy,” says Lungisa Fuzile, CEO of Standard Bank. “We also believe that all individuals regardless of who they are or where they come from have a right to receive an education and it is critical that we narrow the digital divide so that opportunities are available to everyone.” 

Working together with the 26 public universities in South Africa, with a focus on historically disadvantaged institutions who are not in a financial position to provide these resources to their students, Feenix has identified their first 190 beneficiaries of the fund and these students are currently receiving their laptops, internet data and food vouchers. One such beneficiary is Rhulani Salani, an Information Technology undergraduate student from  Tshwane University of Technology. 

Salani has a passion for technology and innovation and would not have been able to continue her studies due to having no access to a laptop or internet data. “Until now, I have completed my assignments in the university computer lab, and don’t have a computer to do so from home. It’s really difficult because I also won’t be able to attend online classes,” she explains. “I would have been one of few young people to graduate from my community, which is why I would like to finish my final year.”

Salani  expressed that her dream is to one day use her skills to bridge the gap between the rural area that she comes from and the urban areas. Ultimately, with the goal of improving the quality of life back home. “This, however, is not possible without the necessary resources” says Salani. 

Join us now to #CapTheGap

(Image: Rhulani Salani)

Salani  is just one of the thousands of students in need of the necessary resources to continue their studies at home. The Feenix Covid-19 Response Fund will ensure that resources are given to students who have shown commitment and determination in their educational journeys and will be among the first to enter and build South Africa’s economy post-COVID-19.

Donate now to ensure students can save their academic year. You can also support this initiative and raise awareness by sharing the #CapTheGap campaign with your community via your social media platforms.

Together, we can ensure that no student is locked out of learning.