Government says it has established what it calls the COVID-19 response grant to support the higher education sector to mitigate against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy Minister of Higher Education Buti Manamela says this initiative will be implemented in conjunction with other various stakeholders including the health sector.

“We established a COVID-19 response grant to support the implementation of the multi-network roadmap of teaching and learning interventions. We also provided appropriate support and advice to ensure effective management of the impact of the pandemic within the sector. We did this [to] save lives but also to save the academic year,” explains Manamela.

COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on academic year

In June, Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande said the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the country’s ailing economy, have had devastating effects on the 2020/2021 academic calendar.

He said despite the challenges the department continued to support institutions of higher learning and students.

The Minister said more than R40 billion of the department’s R111 billion annual budget, has been allocated to finance National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) qualifying students.

Dr Nzimande said the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled the department to expand, among others, online learning for university students.

The video below is last week’s media briefing by Minister Nzimande: