Buffalo City TVET students concerned about online registrations

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As institutions of higher learning prepare to kick start the academic year during this lockdown, some institutions seem to be far from ready.

Buffalo City TVET students in the Eastern Cape have raised concerns over the online registration system, lack of accommodation and the non-payment of allowances. They argue that little to nothing has been done by the institution to address these concerns.

The students further accuse their management of dragging its feet in implementing the guidelines of the Department of Higher Learning and Training.

“With e-learning the college did try to do e-learning, but they wanted to do it via WhatsApp. However, us as students we saw that it won’t work, WhatsApp is a social media platform, it cannot be used for e-learning as well. Not everyone is privileged enough to have a smartphone and data as well,” says student leader, Nolusindiso Mbutho.

For some, the situation is becoming too hard to bear.

“I have been applying for NSFAS since I got here. I am now on my final year but still, I haven’t received a single cent from them,” says Nontsikelelo Mdayi, who is a student.

Despite these challenges, government has maintained that it is all systems go for this academic year.

“Those particular situations are being taken care of by the instructions we gave to campuses to ensure there is a consistent management of such cases,” says the general manager, Luvuyo Ngubelanga.

Nzimande on higher education institutions 2021 opening

Earlier in January, Higher Education Science and Innovation Minister Dr Blade Nzimande said the ministry is expected to receive the statistics on how many university students and staff either tested positive for the coronavirus or succumbed to COVID19-related complications over the festive period.

As of November last year, 58 staff and students at universities had succumbed to COVID-19. 3 888 staff and students have tested positive.

Nzimande was briefing on his department’s plans for the reopening of tertiary institutions. He added that if clusters of infections are found at any institution, the department will not hesitate to close it.

Minister’s briefing below:

“In universities, there were positive cases that were reported of about 3 888 with 1 499 staff and 1 588 students. The total number of deaths by 13 November was 58 – 48 staff, 10 students. As I’m saying, we will be receiving updated reports on infections and fatalities later this month and we want to make it clear that if we identify that there is a rapid increase in particular institutions or campuses of infections, we will close those institutions,” said Nzimande.

Enrolment of first years 

Nzimande has urged parents and last year’s matric learners not to panic over their tertiary education and enrolment in the 2021 academic year. He says institutions of higher learning will be open between March and April for first-years to enrol.

The results of the senior certificate examinations will be released on 22 February.

Nzimande added that the 2020 academic year should be completed between February and March this year for most universities.

“Don’t panic! Our universities have planned in such a way that they will open way after the matric results have been announced so that those who have been writing matric will have an opportunity to be admitted, those who will be admitted. The department is working with institutions in preparing the system for the opening of the 2021 academic year, which as I have said will take place between early March and mid-April this year. ”

According to Ndzimande, the department has invested about R68 million in research aimed at combatting the virus. He says they are working with global science experts in finding vaccine and other solutions to minimise infections.

“We have, to date, invested just over R60 million, reprioritized from the 2019/2020 and 2021 budget allocation towards COVID-19 research and development activities. These funds were approved to support COVID-19 research and development in the areas of diagnostic, vaccines, and so on.”

Ndzimande says they will mobilize a variety of stakeholders to seek a common approach in combating the virus and its spread.