Only 10 of 26 public universities managed to complete 2020 academic calendar – Blade Nzimande

Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has announced that only 10 out of 26 public universities have managed to complete the 2020 academic calendar so far. On the other hand, all Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges across the country have at least managed to complete their academic year.

However, with many campuses scheduled to reopen in order to conduct exams and finalise the 2020 academic year, Nzimande said he was confident that the sector was in a far better position to face the coronavirus now, thanks to the dedicated leadership of all key stakeholders.

Nzimande was speaking during a webinar showcasing the milestones accomplished by the Higher Health entity in managing the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic within the post-school education and training sector to date.

On the response to dealing with the pandemic’s effect on the sector, Nzimande said Higher Health had been able to put to good use the knowledge, experience, as well as the student and staff networks built over two decades to mitigate its impact. So much so that its work was being recognised by other stakeholders on the continent.

In collaboration with experts, scientists and stakeholders such as the World Health Organisation, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and sister departments, he said it (Higher Health) had taken great strides.

It had mainly been able to formulate comprehensive programmes, system controls and infrastructure grounded in the latest epidemiological data and trends to respond to the Covid-19 guidelines, protocols and capacity building needs.

In doing so, he said it had established various scientific technical task teams that helped to manage screening, testing, contact tracing, isolation and linkage to care services.

Nzimande said the main focus moving forward was the need to galvanise healthcare workers, staff and final year science students to volunteer to be trained to be part of the countrywide vaccination efforts.

“We need our institutions to mobilise volunteers to be trained and act as extra hands to support the National Department of Health as it would be impossible for 14 million people to be vaccinated by one department, we need to play our part,” he said.

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