Student Congress Supports Move To Online Learning But Criticises Dept

The South African Students Congress Organisation, also known as SASCO, supports the continuity of classes by tertiary institutions through an online platform. SASCO promises a closer look at how the Department of Higher Education & Training will deliver its plans.

The South African Students Congress Organisation (SASCO) supports the online teaching of tertiary institutions as the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) tables the plans to support the needs of students. The burden of the third wave comes with new challenges as the DHET still struggles to fully deliver on older promises.

The Department’s Minister, Blade Nzimande, also went on to confirm the availability of 170 000 laptops for online learning with 90 000 ready to be given to students during his last briefing.

Nzimande stressed that the Universities will not be closing but the teaching will move to online platforms after the two weeks lockdown period of alert level 4. SASCO remains sceptical about the DHET execution of online learning plans which saw a number of students opting for protests as a result.

SASCO highlighted that the data provided and laptop devices that have been the biggest challenge for students have carried over from previous lockdowns, citing a lack of an adequate plan from the DHET to provide for students with the necessary support for online learning.

The call for online learning during the two weeks of alert level 4 lockdown is also joined by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) for grades 11, and 12 to continue their lessons online to avoid curriculum interruptions. This move is notable as both of the phases prepare for their tertiary entrances.

DHET Minister, Blade Nzimande, gave the green light for students to remain in their campus residences during the alert level 4 period. The Minister however encourages institutions and students to act responsibly and follow the established health guidelines to fight the spread of the virus.

SASCO went on to criticise the Minister for underplaying the agency of mental health challenges and calls for students to be supported during this difficult time.

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