Nzimande: 33% of students allowed back on campus

Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande. Picture: African News Agency (ANA).

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande said only 33% of the student population are allowed back on campus, and this includes final year students and those in need of access to technical equipment.

“This 33% of the returning students include students in their final year of their programmes, who are on a path to graduating in 2020. 

“Final year students who require access to labs, technical equipment, data connectivity and access to residence and private accommodation; students in all years of study that require clinical training in their programmes and post-graduate students who require lab equipment and other equipment. 

“Students who are not supposed to go back, we urge them not to attempt to go back to campuses,” said Nzimande in a media briefing on Wednesday.

He added that 20 of the country’s universities had begun welcoming back students. 

Nzimande urged those students who did not require technical support to study at home in efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

He said efforts were underway in finalising the tender to procure gadgets for students who need the devices for remote learning. The process will be finalised by August 15. 

The minister said the zero-rating of academic websites was of great assistance to students. However, he raised concerns about reports of students using data provided by universities to download movies and other non-academic information. 

“The 2020 academic year will impact the 2021 academic year,” Nzimande warned. 

He further said at the moment there were no talks between his department and the basic education department to cancel the academic year.