University students and matriculations have tried to continue their studies online in the middle of load shedding. Thirteen students and a few parents shared their experiences with Daily Maverick.
“My biggest challenge that happened recently was taking an exam and having a load-shedding hit. The internet went down, which probably affects the batteries in the cell towers, so I couldn’t use my data to take the exam, ”said Luyanda, who refused to reveal his last name.
Luyanda is doing his senior year in electrical engineering in KwaZulu-Natal.
Last week, Eskom announced Load shedding would resume on Wednesday, November 17th. Stage 2 was implemented by 5 a.m. on Saturday.
“If you tell instructors about load shedding and connection problems, they will tell you that they will not have stories of technical difficulties encountered. They keep saying that it’s up to us to be well prepared in the event of a load shedding, ”said Luyanda.
To remedy this, some institutions such as Unisa allow students affected by load shedding to apply aegrotat investigations.
An announcement posted on the Unisa website states that students who have applied for aegrotats will be given the opportunity to write their affected module (s) during the exam session in January / February 2022.
Corresponding VodacomIf a load shedding occurs, a cell tower remains fully functional as long as the batteries are sufficient or the backup generator is running. As soon as the power supply is depleted, the tower stops operating and, depending on the configuration of the nearby towers, can cause a coverage area to fail completely or cause operations to be interrupted.
In addition to dead batteries, telecommunications providers also have to contend with battery theft.
Last year, the major telecommunications providers in South Africa did all of them reported an increase in battery theft and base station vandalism.
“It’s really difficult to convince a lecturer that you had a load shedding and you couldn’t connect to your phone,” Luyanda said.
Obakeng Habedi, a Pretoria respondent who is training to be a health promotion officer, said navigating between work and school had become even more difficult with the load shedding.
“If you come home from work around 6 p.m., load shedding takes place until 8 p.m., or there is load shedding from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., which means that you have little time to study in the evening,” says Habedi.
Habedi has written three of her exams online so far. “When I wrote two of these, the load shedding was a hit, so I couldn’t finish. That means that I have expired the exams and have to take them again next year, ”she said.
One respondent who studies at Stellenbosch University said that trying to take exams and study in the dark was “stressful”.
Another respondent from Mpumalanga said: “[I am a] Master’s Candidate, [I] had to use [my] Cell phone in addition to my laptop in the last phase of my research. “
“There is practically no internet during load shedding. This has had a huge impact on me as a learner as my studies, tutorials and exams are online, ”said one interviewee from Durban.
A respondent from Cape Town said: “My son is a matriculator – it’s absolutely horrible. Very stressful after his last two years of school were already disrupted by Covid! And now that. ”
The National Senior Certificate Exams started on Wednesday, October 27th and ends on Tuesday, December 7th. During that time, 897,786 learners will take their exams at 6,326 public exam centers, 526 independent centers, and 326 designated centers.
During a meeting of the parliamentary committee on basic education earlier this month, Elijah Mhlanga, spokesman for the ministry of basic education, told the committee, “There is no impact on the actual writing of the exam as we do not need electricity to write the exams.” This is that high school exams are written on paper in places with natural light.
However, MPs noted that load shedding affects students’ ability to adequately prepare for their exams.
Umalusi-Chef Mafu Rakometsi called that the load shedding has “far-reaching effects” and “negative psychological effects” on the learners if it disrupts their preparation for the exam.
A Pretoria parent said, “Children cannot study for exams. We can’t prepare food for them. Devices that loop and who will replace them? ” DM
Reader responses, compiled by Daily Maverick Community Manager Sahra Heuwel.
Daily Maverick will publish additional articles based on our readers’ responses to their experiences with load shedding.