Universities South Africa says the biggest challenge that tertiary institutions are facing is how to manage a surge in cases on campuses across the country, as students return.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says the academic year for universities is likely to only be completed in the early part of next year.

Sixty-six percent of students have already started returning to campuses.

CEO of Universities South Africa, Professor Ahmed Bawa, says universities will have to better prepare to deal with clusters of outbreaks as they occur.

“Many of us were hoping that by the time we got to July – September we would have returned to the campuses now that’s much more dicey. What is likely now is that the return to campuses of all students will probably only be in September/October.”

“Which means that if we can’t complete the academic year, it’s very likely that we will run into 2021 sometime in March or April. Then we have this start of the 2021 academic year after that. The big challenge would be to understand how to bring the students back at the same time manage the possibility of larger outbreaks of positive cases in our campuses,” explains Bawa.

In the video below, Minister Blade Nzimande holds joint media briefing on COVID-19 measures: