730,000 laptops to be given to South African students for online learning

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has published a new tender for more than 700,000 laptops which it plans to give to students for online learning.

Tender documents, which were published on the National Treasury’s website on Friday (4 September), state that the Covid-19 pandemic has created a significant amount of uncertainty as to when students will be able to return to Universities and TVET colleges.

“Accordingly, educational institutions in the interim have adapted to the mode of online teaching to ensure that the 2020 academic year has minimal disruption.

“To ensure that all students can access the online teaching mechanism, NSFAS aims to assist so as to ensure that students are supplied with an appropriate electronic device in the form of a laptop.”

While universities and TVET colleges will determine the final numbers of students who are eligible for a learning device, the maximum estimated number of NSFAS students that may require a laptop is set at 730,000.

The tender outlines the required specifications for these laptops as follows:

  • A dual-core processor;
  • 4GB of RAM;
  • A 500GB hard drive;
  • 512MB of VRAM;
  • At least two USB ports;
  • Windows 10 Professional National Academic (pre-installed).

Original bid 

The NSFAS said it originally advertised a tender on 26 June for the supply and delivery of laptops for NSFAS funded students.

Following an evaluation and adjudication process, it was established that no acceptable bid was received, as all 150 bid proposals failed to achieve all mandatory requirements as per tender bid description, it said.

Whilst the previous tender process was underway, NSFAS did some groundwork to ensure that there are no further delays on this project, it said.

“NSFAS issued guidelines to universities and TVET colleges which outlined the process to be followed by institutions to enable speedy processing and delivery of laptops to students. NSFAS has also hosted consultation sessions with relevant stakeholders for alignment and concurrence.

“Once service providers have been appointed, the digital learning devices (laptops) will be delivered as per new tender bidding specifications.

“The sole purpose of this project is to provide access to digital remote learning for NSFAS funded students, to ensure that no student is left behind. The successful implementation and completion of this project is of paramount importance and priority to NSFAS.”


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730,000 laptops to be given to South African students for online learning