Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has made it clear it is his aim to save the academic year, but not at the expense of lives. It’s for this reason he announced on Thursday that South Africa’s students will not be returning to campus.
Nzimande said his department would be implementing a risk-adjusted programme, and decided not to resume with campus-based academic activity, including all universities and TVET colleges. “The only exception will be controlled return of mainly medical students who will return under strict conditions.”
The risks of returning to normal campus are simply too great and cannot function successfully, he claimed. “To be specific, our formal institution are made up of 2.5 million students. Universities do not operate in a vacuum,” Nzimande said.
With the endorsement of the command council, it was decided the current period from May 1 until SA moves into lower levels, that tertiary institutions will use the period to put critical interventions in place.
- The development and implementation of effective multi-model remote learning systems, which will include digital, analogue and physical delivery of learning materials
- Higher Education and tertiary institutions are working hard to secure universal access deals with major mobile operators to secure data deals for students
- Higher Education will also be working to ensure students are provided with instructional materials, procurement and distribution of devices and laptops for all NSFAS-assisted students
- In this regard, the department appealed to students to register correct numbers with their institutions
Nzimande assured the country he is also securing possible relief, stimulus or emergency funding for public institutions in distress.