South Africa: COVID-19 and South African Universities - a Raft of Problems to Ponder

opinion

As universities observe the lockdown call and overhaul campus operations, many may not be able to facilitate online teaching with immediate effect because of resource and infrastructural constraints. The feasibility of remote teaching is also doubtful given the wide disparities among students in terms of access to adequate resources and the internet.

The novel coronavirus disease (covid-19) is real. It is raging like the turbulent waves of the Red Sea. Its impact is strongly felt by everyone across all sectors within and beyond South Africa. The higher education sector is not spared from this wrath. As of 9 April, the virus had infected more than 1,800 people in the country, with 18 reported deaths.

This invisible enemy has forced everyone into a 21-day nationwide lockdown since 26 March, which has now been extended for a further two weeks. The lockdown is intended to "flatten the curve" by starving this virus and retarding its exponential spread through a number of adopted containment measures. These include compulsory social distancing, self-isolation or quarantine, restrictions of movement, closure of places with large gathering capacities such as pubs, gyms, restaurants, museums and movie theatres.

What is more, universities have observed the lockdown call and overhauled...

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