Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, says even though the covid-19 national lockdown brought teaching to a halt, the academic performance of students at some of the country’s Universities have markedly improved this year.
The Minister gave an update on his Department’s covid-19 response, via a virtual briefing this week.
Minister Nzimande says this phenomenon was especially evident among students at so-called “previously-advantaged” Universities and colleges.
He says having access to digital-platforms and equipment, played a significant role in this improved academic performance.
Nzimande, says up to 700-thousand NSFAS-funded students, are set to receive laptops by early next year, which will help them to access online education platforms.
The laptops, meant to help students continue their classes remotely during the covid-19 lockdown, were supposed to have been delivered this year already, but were delayed due to tender-hiccups at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
Nzimande says NSFAS is in the process of finalizing contracts, and says that the devices would be available at the start of the 2021 academic year.
Nzimande also announced that additional funding will be made available to those NSFAS-students, who were supposed to complete their studies this year, but who will now only be able to wrap up their studies early next year.
The Minister says due to the national lockdown, many Universities have had to extend their 2020-academic years into next year, to ensure that teaching and examinations are completed in due time.
Minister Nzimande says this allowance is not available to students who were set to complete their studies beyond 2020.
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) September 30, 2020
This means that wherever possible, the costs of both academic years would be conceptualised as a package and payments spread out over the full period. pic.twitter.com/aH8Nk6otn3
— Bonginkosi Nzimande (@DrBladeNzimande) October 12, 2020