During the coronavirus outbreak, access to information is essential

access to information
22 Apr 2020

The lockdown currently in effect across South Africa to contain the spread of the coronavirus, has schools and universities rushing to put plans in place to allow students to continue learning even though they can’t physically attend class.

While there are many online services capable of providing learning institutions with the platform they need to host lessons and lectures online, that is only one part of the equation.

Students must also have Internet access, and access to a computer or smart device for online learning to be possible during lockdown.

South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, took steps on 17 April 2020 to address the issue of students’ access to the communications devices they need.

The Minister issued a directive in terms of Regulation 10 (8) of the Regulations made under Section 27 (2) of the Disaster Management Act as part of the “Measures to Prevent and Combat the Spread of COVID-19”.

Among other provisions, this directive designates Information and Communication Technology devices—such as desktops, laptops, modems, and other devices—as essential goods for education purposes.

This means that students, lecturers, and other essential university staff are allowed to procure such devices for education purposes.

Accurate and reliable information for students and lecturers

During these difficult times, it is important for Sabinet to provide these institutions with the very best, accurate, and reliable resources possible.

For libraries, librarians, and library-users, while the state of national disaster due to COVID-19 does mean the closure of the physical library spaces, the delivery of our services remains uninterrupted and can be accessed remotely.

Sabinet provides academic libraries with access to almost 200 open access scholarly journal titles and more than 300 subscription titles. Understanding that information retrieval can be a complex process, we’ve made it easy to obtain both accurate and focused results. The Sabinet African Journal collection is the biggest of its kind and spans a massive body of peer-reviewed research, covering a variety of disciplines.

Through Sabinet, libraries can offer their vast digital collections to students through CONTENTdm® and, by way of EZproxy, can even deliver various content types—such as journal articles and—to their students off campus.

Furthermore, Sabinet has also focused on enabling universities with law faculties to access the resources necessary to train law students via its National Legislation (NetLaw) sponsorship. The fact that students can access these training resources remotely is a great advantage.

At Sabinet, we take great pride in the credibility of each and every one of the library and information services we are host and remain committed to the services we provide.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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