Government to take South Africa’s universities online as student marks improve

 ·26 Nov 2020

Higher Education, Science and Innovation minister Dr Blade Nzimande says that a number of South African universities have reported better student performance in comparison to previous years.

In a media briefing on Thursday (26 November), Nzimande said that his department has interrogated the reasons for this increased performance and found a number of contributory factors.

Although more careful assessment across all teaching and learning parameters must still be done, especially after the completion of the 2020 academic year, Nzimande said that initial research indicates positive impact in many cases in respect of:

  • The multimodal, blended approach to teaching and learning;
  • Opportunities provided to students to learn in different ways, more flexibly and at their own pace;
  • Multiple assessment methods.

“It is clear that blended and multimodal learning, including digital and online learning must become a standard part for the future higher education system.

“In this regard I intend next year to set up a ministerial task team to help us develop strategies to make online learning a reality in our sector.”

However, Nzimande said that a significant number of students, especially those at historically-black universities and campuses, and those living in working class and poor communities, have struggled to access digital platforms because of lack of devices, connectivity and other family household circumstances.

“It is clear that the class and spatial legacies of the past are continuing to impair the ability of many our students to fully take advantage of learning opportunities under the Covid-19 threat,” he said.

Read: Proposed university fee increases for South Africa in 2021

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