Nzimande: Majority of universities won’t complete academic year in 2020

Higher learning was disrupted and severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many students struggling with access to the internet and laptops.

FILE: Prospective students at Wits University. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said that the majority of the country’s universities would not complete the 2020 academic year this year.

The department has announced that universities are in the position to welcome 100% of students back on campus.

Higher learning was disrupted and severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many students struggling with access to the internet and laptops.

From the end of March, students were either forced to stop learning or to continue their studies from home.

By alert level 2 over 60% of students were allowed back on campus.

But Minister Nzimande said that this was not enough for all universities to catch up.

“Ten universities are aiming to complete the academic year before the end of the 2020 calendar year. Four universities plan to end in January, seven universities plan to end in February and five universities plan to complete in March.”

He said that the academic year for first-year students would also be affected.

“The start of the academic year for first-year students will be staggered between 8 March 2021 and 12 April 2021. We are really in a very tight situation and it will put pressure on the 2021 academic year.”

Nzimande said that seven institutions were at medium risk of not completing the academic year, while 19 were at low risk.

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