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Directive on Essential Goods and Services for Higher Education Institutions in Place

April 21, 2020

Department of Higher Education and Training

A Directive designed to provide guidance on the implementation of the provisions for essential goods and services for higher education institutions has been published.

The higher education and training department published the Directive in Government Gazette 43237 in terms of Disaster Management Act Regulations on COVID-19.

The aim of the Directive is to prescribe temporary measures to manage the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the functionality of higher education institutions.

It also seeks to ensure the procurement and delivery of essential goods and services for higher education institutions.

Included in the list of essential goods and services for higher education institutions are information and communication technology devices such as desktops, laptops and modems for educational purposes; gases, liquids and chemicals used in the preservation of biological samples and maintenance of equipment and machinery and animal feed for laboratory and farm animals.

“The transport of such goods between suppliers and higher education institutions and between higher education institutions and identified individuals and institutions is declared an essential service.”

The Directive came into effect on the date of publication.

Meanwhile, in Gazette 43236, the department has exempted post-school education and training institutions, including public and private higher education institutions as well as public colleges, from complying with deadlines in the Higher Education Act, the Continuing Education and Training Act and any regulation made or instruction issued in terms of the acts, where such deadlines fall within the period 31 March 2020 to 31 July 2020.

The notice also indicates that, due to the current COVID-19 lockdown that has been extended to 30 April 2020, institutions must comply with the relevant provisions of the applicable Acts and prescribed date(s) applicable to them within two months after the deadline in the applicable provision.

In the realm of basic education, the basic education department has issued a statement confirming that the May/June Amended Senior Certificate (old matric) and National Senior Certificate Examination have been postponed.

“This is the matric examination which was to be written by more than 350,000 part-time candidates who include those who did not meet the pass requirements in the 2019 final exams as well as those who sought to rewrite to improve their marks.”

According to the department, the rescheduling of the May/June exams is due to the disruption to schooling caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.

The plan is for the May/June examination to be merged with the November 2020 examination.