Some universities gearing up for hybrid learning in 2021

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Cabinet has encouraged institutions of higher learning to engage with their student bodies to find solutions that will allow more students to register.

Some universities are gearing up for a hybrid curriculum next year. Both Wits University and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) say the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to rethink their education offerings.

The universities say their long standing programmes to offer laptops and tablets to students helped them through the pandemic and as a result they will be moving some of their activities online.

Funding body, NSFAS, also says all their students will have laptops amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

UJ Deputy Vice Chancellor, Angina Parekh says their students and staff took to online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We also realised that our students and academic staff have taken well to the online mode so, what we are looking at next year is a hybrid so, they’ll still come to campus but contact classes may be used differently. So, instead of coming to class and listening to a lecture, they might have more tutorials and more small group engagements.”

Meanwhile, 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 on Thursday 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.”

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

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