University of Pretoria (UP) students and staff will be able to access UP-related websites for free for the duration of the first semester.

Called UP Connect, the platform was specially designed to allow staff and students access to all UP-related content as well as the University’s digital systems without incurring any data charges.

This is to support the University’s efforts to ensure that online teaching and learning, which is set to resume on 4 May until 17 June 2020, happens without a glitch.

The platform, which can be accessed through an internet browser on any device, is located at Users will need to use their portal credentials to log on to UP Connect to gain free access to the following services:

* The UP Web;

* clickUP;

* Library Services;

* Library Search;

* Lib Guides;

* UP and TUKS Gmail;

* GIBS; and

* GIBS Blackboard.

UP Connect was made possible through the support of South Africa’s major telecommunications providers and will work on all networks including MTN, Vodacom, Telkom and Cell C.

The University has also made considerable progress to provide students who are in financial need with internet-enabled devices and will start delivering these soon so that online teaching and learning can begin by 4 May.

UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe said the University would continue its efforts to ensure that no student is left behind. “The Covid-19 pandemic has created large-scale disruptions to our everyday lives. While we recognise how challenging it is, it is important that we remain agile, and work together to save the academic year. We are committed to finding innovative solutions to ensure that no student, regardless of their financial position, is left behind,” Prof Kupe says.