Free Internet plan to benefit some 6,500 varsity students

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) will be providing free Internet to its students from low-income families to help in their online learning process.

The university’s deputy vice-chancellor (student affairs) Prof Dr Durrishah Idris said new students from the B40 bracket would be given free 10GB Internet data monthly with unlimited access to class-related websites and apps such as Zoom, Cisco Webex and UTM e-learning.

“This is in line with the Higher Education Ministry’s call for universities to conduct classes online due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

“About 6,500 students, which is half of UTM’s student body, will benefit from the free Internet initiative as we want them to have a good online learning experience along with other students,” she said in a press conference.

She highlighted that the free Internet data plan had been given to 2,500 students since June 9, across three phases and phase four would begin soon.

The free Internet would be available to the students for two months, she added.

Prof Durrishah said 8,177 undergraduate and postgraduate students were scheduled to register for the new 2020/2021 semester from Oct 10 to 13.

“This includes about 3,000 new intakes who will only be required to register online and participate in online classes.

“As for the orientation activities for new students initially slated for Oct 11 to 14, it will be held fully online as well, to eliminate physical interaction.

“Students currently staying on campus, including those undergoing internship and doing research, are allowed to stay in their dormitories,” she said, adding that students who had paid their on-campus hostel fee could seek a refund from the university.

Prof Durrishah revealed that two international students were undergoing quarantine upon arrival at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur as part of the standard operating procedure before they were allowed in campus.

She urged students to get in touch with the university for enquiries or if they needed any assistance via UTM’s hotline at 011-8687 022 (UTM Johor Baru) or 010-4040 277 (UTM Kuala Lumpur.

The Higher Education Ministry had previously recommended that all higher education institutions postpone their physical registration of new and existing students at the campus and carry out their registration processes for the new semester online.

In the statement, it said this should also include all teaching and learning activities in light of the recent spike in Covid-19 cases nationwide. — By YEE XIANG YUN

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