Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has made it unequivocally clear that it is his aim to save the academic year, but not at the expense of lives. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has made it unequivocally clear that it is his aim to save the academic year, but not at the expense of lives. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Sasco rejects Nzimande's bid to save academic year, says poor students will suffer the most

By Chulumanco Mahamba Time of article published May 4, 2020

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Johannesburg - The South African Students Congress (Sasco) has rejected the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation’s proposed measures to save the 2020 academic year.

The body said the department’s measures to save the year were at the expense of poor and vulnerable students.

Minister Blade Nzimande announced on Friday that campus-based academic activity throughout the Post School Education and Training sector would not resume during the Level 4 lockdown.

Nzimande said the department was close to securing a universal data and connectivity access deal with the major mobile networks and finalising the procurement of devices for all students to support remote learning. He added that physical delivery of learning materials was required where no immediate digital means were ready.

“The department seemingly forgets that an overwhelming portion of our student populace hails from rural areas, informal settlements, farms and remote areas of our country and yet it plans to leave them behind regardless of their reality,” Sasco said reacting to Nzimande’s announcement.

Its president Bamanye Matiwane told The Star on Sunday the organisation dismissed Nzimande’s presentation on the basis that the department was not honest.

“You can’t when you’re still planning to deliver devices and in engagements with service providers for networks and still say the academic year must continue while conversations are happening,” he said.

Matiwane added that there were 12 universities which indicated that they were ready for e-learning, 10 which were not ready and four which needed to be capacitated.

“There is no need to rush we’re saying let’s prepare infrastructure, have a blended approach with mixed methodology and let’s assure students of no exclusion next year.”

Sasco has given the department until tomorrow to respond to the students before they will consider legal action. 

@Chulu_M

The Star

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