As the risk of COVID-19 still remains, South Africa’s tertiary institutions’ 2020 academic year will only be completed in 2021, Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande said on Wednesday.
“As it stands, we are targeting all institutions to complete the 2020 academic year by the end of February 2020,” he said at a virtual briefing in Pretoria.
While the date for the start of 2021 academic year was yet to be finalized, it was likely to commence from March 15 to April 15.
The decision to complete the 2020 academic year next year was taken after a meeting with university vice chancellors and the ministerial task team.
“Institutions will need to continue to be vigilant and prioritize health and safety of staff and students, while at the same time ensure continued and more intense support for teaching and learning to ensure that the academic year is saved,” Nzimande said.
He said a total of 80 people including university staff and students have died due to COVID-19. There were over 1,500 coronavirus positive tests at institutions currently.
Nzimande said that international students studying at local universities would only be able to return to campuses when international travel resumes under lockdown level 1.