Completion of 2021 Academic Year Could See Major Delays

Due to the third wave of COVID-19 caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant, tertiary institutions may not complete the 2021 academic year, as students have not been able to attend lectures in person.

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As the country is in the third wave of COVID-19, tertiary institutions have moved to online learning and have suspended contact examinations until a later stage. 

Prof Ahmed, the CEO of Universities South Africa, stated that he is concerned about the tertiary institutions' ability to recover and complete the 2021 academic year.

Bawa mentioned that one of the challenges they face is understanding the impact this wave will have on the current academic year. 

“Because it was tight already, many universities started in March, one or two even in April. So, there is this big question of whether we can make up the time,” said Bawa.

The CEO of Universities South Africa hopes that these arrangements will be temporary so that students may return to normal academic activity.

Bawa stated that “these regulations, at the moment, are just for two weeks, that might change in a few weeks.”

After the announcement of the third wave of COVID-19, Dr Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, stated that contact learning will be suspended. 

During a media briefing on Wednesday, Nzimande addressed adherence to COVID-19 regulations in the Higher Education sector.

“In terms of the adjusted Level 4 Lockdown that has now been put in place, our universities do not officially close, but all face-to-face teaching and examinations must halt for the next two-week period. Learning will shift exclusively to online learning for all students,” said Nzimande.

Nzimande also stated that students that live at university residences are allowed to remain there, in an attempt to minimise the spread of the virus.

“Residences will remain open, as it is also not safe for students to travel back home at this time and it is necessary for students to retain access to campus and residence-based wifi,” said Nzimande.

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