UCT shuts down,SA varsities move classes online

Cape Town – Tertiary institutions are moving teaching and learning online to continue the academic programme during the second term.

UCT deputy vice-chancellor for Teaching and Learning, associate professor Lis Lange, said the state of disaster declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa forced them into new approaches “to what we do, to help flatten the potential curve of infection. Even with suspended lectures and closed residences, the academic programme needs to continue.”

UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said the institution would engage with foreign embassies to ensure that international students return safely to their countries.

Phakeng said all students “must now leave the residences by 5pm today.

“At that time, all residences will be locked down, electronic access will be removed and wi-fi, electricity and water will be shut off.”

Phakeng said the university would provide travel assistance for students unable to pay for their departure.

The impact of the lockdown is that, apart from certain exempt sectors, no one will be allowed to leave their houses, except to buy food or seek medical attention. Phakeng said that placed UCT in an unsustainable position and “we require every student to return home as soon as possible”.

She said all students – including those who received prior approval to stay – must vacate UCT premises urgently and return home.

Otherwise, they would be in violation of the lockdown.

Stellenbosch University, vice-rector: Learning and Teaching Professor Arnold Schoonwinkel said with the second term of 2020 commencing via the SU online platforms as from March 30.

“I want to call on all lecturers to use SUNLearn as an online learning platform. To assist lecturers with this urgent transitional process, the Division for Learning and Teaching has developed a range of guides, websites, documents and virtual seminars.”

Cape Argus