Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation
All universities are fully committed to complete the 2020 academic year by mid-March 2021.
The higher education, science and innovation minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, declared this in a briefing on progress in the post school education and training sector in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister added that twenty-five universities are set to start the 2021 academic year at the end of March 2021 and one university in April.
“This aligns well with the release of the Basic Education National Senior Certificate results, which are expected to be released on the 23rd February 2021,” he said.
The minister pointed out that it is “clear that blended and multimodal learning, including digital and online learning must become a standard part for the future higher education system”.
A Ministerial Task Team is to be set up next year to assist in developing strategies to make online learning a reality in the sector.
The minister thanked the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for the “very important initial work it has undertaken to track student accessibility to connectivity in their homes”.
Other highlighted issues include that work on a policy framework on the regulation of university fees could not be completed for the 2021 academic year due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; a further fee compact proposed to public universities to ensure fee increases are kept at affordable levels; a CPI-linked fee increase proposed for 2021; 2021 academic year for TVET colleges to start on 25th January 2021; tuition in community education and training colleges scheduled to start on 27 January 2021; decreased estimates for the skills levy collections from R19.413 billion to R11.291 billion for the financial year ending 31 March 2021 due to Covid-19 Tax Relief Measures; SETA Grant Regulations to be reviewed to reflect contemporary challenges and the latest National List of Occupations in High Demand in South Africa launched.