Lockdown: This is government’s new plan to allow students back on campuses

UCT reveals first group of students who will be allowed back, but no dates confirmed yet

Students in all years of study that require clinical training in their programmes can also go back. Universities can also decide to allow back students to residences who may face “extreme difficulties” in learning at home.

Once Level 3 is announced, students will be given a period of two to three weeks from the announcement date to return back to their campuses. Institutions will issue permits to identified students to allow for their travel. Only a third of students will be allowed back in residences under Level 3.

Students will be screened for Covid-19 symptoms at campus entrances.

Once the country reaches Level 2, two-thirds of the student population will be allowed back. First-year students in all undergraduate programmes will be allowed back as well as students in all years of study who require laboratory and technical equipment to complete the academic year.

Students in all years of study who require practical placements, experiential learning or workplace-based learning to complete the academic year will also be allowed back – provided the workplaces and platforms are open and prepared. Two-thirds of residences may be occupied during Level 2.

Only at Level 1, will all students return.

TVET returns

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) students will return by specific dates, but if their campuses are in areas that are still on Level 4 during that time – they will remain closed.

These are the return date for engineering students:

N6 & N3: 10 June

N5 & N2: 15 June

N4 & N1: 22 June

For business studies students:

N6: 25 June

N5: 29 June

N4: 06 July

National Certificate (Vocational) Level 4: 13 July

Level 3: 20 July

Level 2: 27 July

All lecturers need to return by 8 June.

CET colleges

Students registered for General Education and Training Certificate, Senior Certificate and National Occupational Certificates at Community Education and Training colleges need to return by 17 June. Exam dates have been postpone to next year to enable them to complete the 2020 academic year.

NSFAS students

Nzimande announced all NSFAS students, including Funza Lushaka teaching bursary students, would receive 10GB daytime and 20GB nighttime data for three months, starting from 1 June until the end of August.

This thanks to a new deal with cellphone service providers which secured “very favourable rates”.

He said these students should register their cellphone numbers with their respective institutions, and they shoud not change their SIM cards during this period.

Nzimande added the government was not in a position to subsidise data to students who fall within the so-called “missing middle” category – those who did not qualify for NSFAS bursaries, but came from households who might have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“We, however, appeal to [cellphone companies] to work with institutions to also offer affordable packages to such students.”

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He said the government was working towards an affordable higher education loan scheme involving the private sector.

An agreement with the SA Revenue Service has been concluded to provide the NSFAS access to the latest tax data to validate the household income of applicants.

The NSFAS will now also be able to include other income, such as investment and rental, in its applications assessment.

“This will greatly assist towards the finalisation of outstanding appeals,” Nzimande added.

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