The University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Monday said students who had difficulty connecting to the internet for online classes were given free pocket Wi-Fi devices from telecoms giant PLDT.

In a press release, UST said 5,000 lines of “Smart Bro” data plans with 8GB of data were made available to students enrolled in the second term of Academic Year 2019-2020.

The program was initiated by UST’s engineering faculty and information and computing sciences institute, and spearheaded by UST Rector Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., “to enable the students to succeed in the educative process by ensuring accessibility and flexibility in learning,” the press release stated.

UST engineering dean Philipina Marcelo said some 2,000 students had signed up for the program.

The Catholic university will implement an “Enriched Virtual Mode” of instruction next academic year, using online and offline learning delivery methods.

In a letter to the UST community on May 25, Ang said in-campus classes would only be held when allowed by government guidelines.

The university also announced that there would be no tuition increase next enrollment period. The first term of Academic Year 2020-2021 in UST will open on Aug. 13, 2020 and end on Dec. 18, 2020. John Ezekiel J. Hirro