South Africa releases plan to reopen universities

South Africa is exploring ways to reopen universities across the country. They have released guidelines that will help students return back to school seamlessly.

South African government has announced plans to reopen universities. In a media briefing held on 23 May, the Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Blade Nzimand, laid out plans his ministry is taking to reopen the country.

He continued by highlighting the impact coronavirus has had on the education sector. This year, the spread of the virus has interrupted the entire school year calendar, through lockdowns and school closure.

The country has also been placed under travel restrictions which have further hindered the continuation of education in the country. Dr. Nzimand indicated his ministry was working on a plan to bring students safely back to schools.

South Africa reopen universities

The universities will be opened in phases dictated by the levels of safety that have been predetermined by the government. So far, the government has released to set of guidelines for levels 4 and 3.

Level 4 has already been implemented and students in their final year have already returned to schools having satisfied the requirements at this level.

The government will now implement level 3 guidelines, according to the Ministry of Higher education, which will see all students in level 4 return to school, plus additions such as students in their final year and graduating this year.

The level 3 provisions also allow fourth-year students who are taking courses that require laboratories to return back to school. This is because, such learning cannot be done over the internet, and requires practical engagement between teachers and students.

Students requiring clinical training will also be allowed to return to school under the level 3 provisions. The ministry indicated that for this set of groups, all years of study will be eligible to return. Postgraduate students who require lab will also be allowed to return.

The minister continued by saying other levels of guidelines will be available soon. He also indicated that the earliest return for level 3 will be June 15th, with students returning to universities two to three weeks later.


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