News24 Wire
Wire Service
2 minute read
18 Mar 2020
10:46 pm

No graduation, delayed studies: students concerned over Covid-19 impact

News24 Wire

Some universities decided to suspended contact lectures, while others went on early recess for the Easter holidays.

Stellenbosch University campus. PIC: Stellenbosch University.

Concerns among university students have risen after adjustments were made to the academic calendar following the Covid-19 outbreak.

This after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande declared that all institutions of higher learning would officially close on Wednesday to implement social distancing guidelines.

Stellenbosch University student Roxanne Mooney told News24 she understood the need to take precautions, but was disappointed her graduation had been cancelled.

“It was harsh at first when they announced it was cancelled without plans for rescheduling,” she said.

While most students agreed with the changes, they said it still did not change the fact that their studies would be affected.

“Since lectures have been cancelled, for us post-graduate students, the effect is immense. It is affecting our studies so badly,” University of Cape Town student Phumlani Zuma said.

“We were supposed to submit our research papers on Friday, but we couldn’t because all the dates have been moved back,” he added.

Wits LLB post-graduate student Baleseng Lekalakala said she and a friend were currently the only two students left in residence after students were given 72 hours to vacate it.

“I was not prepared for an early recess; I’m only leaving on Friday.

“I still have work that I’ve missed out on last week and this week as well. I am hoping that the libraries or labs are still open, because my friend doesn’t have textbooks. Our plan is to do a couple of copies from the books for her to catch up,” said Lekalakala.

During a briefing with higher education stakeholders, Nzimande said the department had not made a final decision that all universities should follow. He added each institution should come up with a plan that was suitable for their students.

Some universities decided to suspended contact lectures, while others went on early recess for the Easter holidays.

According to Nzimande, there were approximately two million registered students across South Africa and two reported cases of the coronavirus among them.

The University of the Witwatersrand has one reported case.

All institutions of higher learning are expected to reopen after the Easter holiday.

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