All South African universities to close due to coronavirus

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has announced the early closure of all universities due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking at a meeting with higher education stakeholders, Nzimande said that all post-school institutions will be closed from 18 March 2020.

“All post-school education and training institutions will be closed for early recess with effect from 18 March, and this includes the normal planned institutional breaks that we were going to be having,” Nzimande said.

“These universities are planning to return from this break on 15 April 2020. Of course, the exact dates for the reopening will be based on the assessment of the course of the virus.”

“This is not a shutdown, it’s an early recess – which means the suspension of undergraduate academic activities and lectures,” he said.

The minister added that higher education institutions have agreed to use this break to look at online and digital learning solutions.

He said the ministry will also establish a national task team that will guide the institutions and the education sector on how to deal with the coronavirus threat.

Zero-rating education

Telkom recently confirmed that it would zero-rate educational websites as well as those which inform the population about the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Zero-rated educational websites primarily comprise the educational facility websites of universities and colleges.

Telkom is doing this to assist the institutions in continuing their learning and teaching processes.

“We believe that the pandemic can be overcome if we work together and ensure that South Africans are empowered with access to accurate information about the virus,” Telkom said.

The University of the Witwatersrand has also stated that it is in talks with other mobile operators regarding zero-rated services and data allocations.

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All South African universities to close due to coronavirus