By Mantwa Mehlape
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 10 of VARSITY News.
Beginning on the 11th of February, classrooms across the University of Cape Town experienced multiple power outages, causing many classes to be cancelled and resulting in a costly lapse of WiFi.
As this was the first day of lectures, electricity was highly needed for the lectors to cover the introductory phases of each course. However, due to the load shedding incident, they were not able to cover a lot of work in the lecture halls, which caused many lectors to end their classes early. This impacted academic life for many UCT students, causing them to miss classes that are important to their academic transcript.
One student, Sinqobile Mchunu, mentioned that her entire ELL2000F class had to have their lecture outside because there was no electricity.
“As a student, when load shedding happens there is nothing that we can do,” she said. “It also makes us procrastinate.”
Electricity lapses also impact lectors and tutors because they are then forced to push a lesson back, which could cause the class to fall behind in the coverage of its curriculum.
“Load shedding set us back,” Mchunu said. “Lectures had to catch up with what they had planned.”
Load shedding can also cause the WiFi to be cut down, which adversely impacts a lot of students on campus and at UCT residences.
The negative impacts that a student might face when the WiFi has been cut down include not being able to hand in an online assignment on time, although they might still be able to get their on-paper assignments in. They may also be unable to do important research online and, perhaps most importantly, they have barriers in their ability to communicate through email to their tutors about the difficulties that they are facing with coursework.
The load shedding incidents demonstrate how a few hours without power can be academically devastating for many students.