Public universities have either embraced emergency teaching/learning, or are getting ready for the inevitable, in the COVID-19 era

Since South Africa recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19, universities have undergone totally unanticipated changes in the way they operate – generally, and in the way they deliver the academic programme.

Now that the national lockdown has taken root, our member institutions have had little choice but to embark on wide-scale emergency teaching and learning to salvage the 2020 academic year. Even some of the institutions who felt less ready to venture into remote teaching/learning are now gearing themselves up for the inevitable, given the protracted lockdown and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 trajectory. To that end, public universities are increasingly advocating better collaboration across the system; sharing available resources and looking jointly at creating solutions for what might well become a new norm in future curriculum delivery. Successful progression to emergency teaching, of the institutions that are still lagging behind, hinges, among other conditions, on timely delivery of learning devices for students; on the higher education sector collectively overcoming the data challenge and on the institutions finding creative other solutions for the students residing in totally unconnected localities.

In addition to upholding their core functions, our member universities have fully responded to their local contexts and have joined hands with government, the health and other systems, the biomedical/ engineering industries, civil society and multi-national organisations in finding solutions to this unprecedented pandemic.

Further to sharing remote teaching, learning and research resources on this page, we have also published Research and Engagement Reports in response to COVID-19, and how our institutions are navigating Emergency Teaching and Learning in the current circumstances. Lastly, we continue to share guidelines and resources from like-minded international associations for our collective learning and cross-enrichment.

Creating socially-distanced campuses


The 26 public universities’ joint response to COVID-19

This is how the 26 member institutions are responding to their local, provincial and national government needs in fighting the coronavirus. The reports below have captured universities’ on-going:

All three reports are fluid documents, which USAf will continue to update as new developments come to light.

View appendices to the first two reports here


#STAYInformed – General Information


#KEEPLeading – Leadership resources in the COVID-19 era


#KEEPLearning – Teaching and Learning Resources in the COVID-19 era
  • UCT shares remote teaching and learning resources
  • UJ shares resources for:
  • #UFSLearnOn: There are 4 Editions of the #UFSLearnOn materials which students can download. All of these materials are under a Creative Commons license. The aim of the resources was to provide support, encouragement and skills to maximise students chances to succeed in a new learning and teaching environment. To access the four editions,read more
  • #UFSTeachOn: TheTeachOn Guide was developed as an emergency remote teaching response to the COVID-19 pandemic The guide is also under a Creative Commons license so you are welcome to use it and share


#KeepResearching – Research resources in the Covid-19 era


Central University of Technology (CUT)


Durban University of Technology (DUT)


Mangosuthu University of Technology


North-West University (NWU)


Rhodes University


Stellenbosch University


University of Cape Town (UCT)


University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)


University of Pretoria’s Vice-Chancellor message to the UP community

University of South Africa (UNISA)


University of the Free State (UFS)


University of the Western Cape (UWC)


University of the Witwatersrand (WITS)


Embedded media:

University of the Free State (UFS): Vice-Chancellor’s video message on the UFS plan of action


Additional links:

Australian doctors have shared a useful guide

National Institute of Communicable Diseases site