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