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Following meetings with Student Representative Council members and the Minister of Higher Education, the South African Union of Students has now put an end to the national shutdown with immediate effect. Students all over South Africa were protesting for free education and for students with debt to be allowed to register.


Student debt in the country amounts to billions of rands. This student debt is also behind students not having their certificates and being in limbo after finishing University.


Missing middle students continue to struggle with financial aid and being financially excluded. The state requires a national system to be implemented for this problem to be solved. 


The 2021 university year if off to a staggered start because, of the Covid-19 pandemic. But Universities South Africa says that it is the right way to go. NSFAS's promise of devices are crucial for this academic year. 


The start of the academic years signals a lot of conversations about to begin. With historical debt, NSFAS and registration issues and now with a pandemic at play, the start of the 2021 academic year has already been bumpy.


 

Professor Ahmed Bawa, Universities South Africa CEO, provides an update on the preparedness for the 2021 academic year.


How much catch up will students with a lack of resources have to do and will they be able to catch up and finish in time? Also, what level will rushed education give them? South Africa's National Lockdown has drastically changed the face of education, with many South African students on the suffering end due to lack of resources. 


Now that South Africa stands at Level 1 of Lockdown and we can taste the return to some version of "normal" on the tips of our tongues, one has to ask the question: So what will happen at Universities once lockdown is over or even the now? Will contact classes still happen?


High risk Universities in South Africa are expected to only finish their 2020 academic year in March of next year. With many Universities not having continued their academic programmes and some students having been left in the dark, is this possible? Will these students be able to catch up?


The South African Union of Students is speaking up against the two-tier education system that has come as a result of the Department's handling of Covid-19. Many differences were seen in how institutions were able to handle the move to online learning as some students have still not been provided with learning materials, data and devices to make online learning possible.


Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor says progress has been made to ensure that the new bursary scheme is implemented successfully.

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