By: Lesego Tanaka
On April 30th, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, released a statement on the measures to phase in PSET strategic functions in all higher education institutions. The ministry and the department of higher education have decided ‘’not to resume with campus-based academic activity’’ throughout all academic institutions in the country, both private and public. The minister stated that ‘’we must save the academic year, but not at the expense of lives’’. Amongst the critical measures announced by Nzimande was the development and implementation of ‘’effective multi-modal remote learning systems’’ which include the use of online learning methods to enhance student academic support.
Minister Nzimande also mentioned in his statement that they are strengthening their ‘’remote pedagogic teaching and learning models and sharing this across the TVET and University systems’’. However, students like Naledi Monanthane of the Ekurhuleni East TVET college, Kwa-Thema campus, explains that ‘’TVET colleges don’t have any online learning platforms and this causes us to fall behind with our studies’’. Monanthane further adds, ‘’nothing has been communicated with us regarding our tests and examinations since the overall implementation of the lockdown. The only thing one of our lecturers sent us were question papers at the beginning of April’’.
The academic future of students at TVET colleges seems to be blurry although Nzimande firmly stated ‘’no student must be left behind’’ amidst the current strategies to ‘’ save the academic year’’. Some college students have expressed that they believe colleges are indeed treated unfairly by the DHET and that a huge focus is placed solely on Universities.