No Universities Remain At High Risk, said Minister

As it stands, no South African University is seen as high risk. This categorisation is based on many aspects of the University itself. Nzimande outlined further plans for Universities in South Africa as we are now on Lockdown Level 1.

Nzimande discussed the risk dashboard in his latest briefing and said that no University is categorised as high risk. Blade Nzimande spoke on the changes in the higher education sector as we have now moved to Lockdown level 1. Deputy Minister, Buti Manamela, was present as well.

These risk levels are based on how effectively the institution rolled out an online programme, how capable they are of finishing the academic year on time and whether their campuses are ready and have the resources needed to welcome students back as we experience a pandemic.

The Minister said the risk levels are as follows:

  • Red means the University is at high risk and won't be completing the academic year on time
  • Orange means that the University is at medium risk and has average capabilities to finish the academic year but not as soon as some other Universities can
  • Green means the University is at low risk and is on track to complete the academic year on time

On 17 September, the picture moved and changed somewhat, said the Minister. Seven Universities were at low risk and nineteen were at medium risk. This means that no institutions remain at high risk and is seen as the Higher Education sector making progress.

The Department held one on one engagements with high and medium risk institutions and will provide them with support. Institutions identified as medium risk still have somewhere to go to complete the first semester, said the Minister.

He also revealed that a significant number of students still haven't engaged with an online learning programme. Necessary catch up programmes will now be made available and take place as all students can return to campus.

Ten universities have indicated that they will end their academic year before the end of 2020, four are set to end in January 2021, seven in February 2021 and five in March 2021. These predictions are linked to whether they can support students and whether students have been given a reasonable opportunity to succeed.

Due to lockdown, National Senior Certificate (NSC) results will be announced on 23 February 2021. This would then result in the start of the academic year for first years will be staggered and only be between 8 March and 12 April.

Nzimande said the Department continues to engage with institution for plans for the academic year. He said, "we are really in a tight sit to finish this current academic year" and that there is also increased pressure put on the 2021 academic year.

The Minister urges institutions and students to make sure every minute of learning and teaching is used effectively.


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