Universities in position to welcome back 100% students: Nzimande

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Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says universities in the country are now in a position to welcome 100% of students back on campuses as the country has moved to alert Level 1 of the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. This will include all international students who are currently outside South Africa.

Briefing the media in Pretoria, Nzimande said the revised rules will come into effect from tomorrow and safety protocols will have to be applied.

“We will now be able to move to a 50% occupancy of rooms up to a maximum of 250 persons indoors at a time, with ventilation of rooms remaining critical. With respect to international students returning who remain outside our country, they will need to meet the requirements of the CoGTA regulations; which includes having a test, not older than 72 hours, showing that they are negative for the virus on arrival in South Africa. If not, they will need to go into quarantine at their own expense for at least ten days.”

Completion of the academic year

Nzimande says there are seven tertiary education institutions that are at medium risk of not completing the academic year successfully. Nineteen institutions are at low risk of not completing the academic year.

“In terms of completion of the 2020 academic year, ten universities aim to complete their academic year before the end of the 2020 calendar year, four universities plan to end in January 2021, seven universities plan to complete in February 2021 and five universities plan to complete in March 2021.”

NSFAS applications

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has received 160 536 applications between 3 August – 31 August, which is 20 000 more than 2019.

Applications are also open for Grade 9 to 12 learners and out-of-school youth who wish to further their studies at public Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges across the country.

Nzimande says Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo are leading with the highest number of applications.

“We anticipate that the result from the National Senior Certificate examination will be announced on 23 February next year (2021). As a result, our start of the new academic year for first-year students will be staggered between 8 March 2021 and the 12th of April 2021. We will continue to monitor and engage with all institutions in relation to their plans for the completion of the academic year.”

Minister Nzimande briefs the media on Higher Education under level 1:

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