South Africa: Nzimande to Check University State of Readiness

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, will on Thursday visit Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) to check its state of readiness in preparation for the phased return of students.

The Minister's visit follows the commencement of the COVID-19 level 3 pronouncement by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Final year students and those graduating in 2020 may return to campus under level 3 lockdown.

Nzimande held a media briefing on 23 May, in which the department announced level 3 lockdown health and safety measures, and subsequent regulations.

"Students in all years of study, who require clinical training in their programmes provided that the clinical training platforms have sufficient space and can accommodate them while adhering to the safety protocols [may return]," Nzimande said.

He announced a phased reopening of campus activities in the entire Post School Education and Training sector, as the sector continues to implement a risk adjusted strategy.

"Under level 4, the sector has provided for a controlled return of final year students in programmes requiring clinical training, starting with medicine (MBChB) and the phasing-in of all other programmes, such as Nursing, Dental, Veterinary Sciences," he said.

Medical students have been returning to clinical training platforms from 11 May 2020. Other final-year students in other programmes, who require clinical training, began returning from 1 June 2020.

"Universities have already identified students who will be returning to campuses at various levels of the lockdown, and universities have already made provision for the necessary health and safety measures, permissions and permits for the students to travel back to campus," the Minister said.

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