International students wishing to return to SA to be subjected to Covid-19 testing

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Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande.


Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande.

  • International students wishing to return to universities would be subjected to Covid-19 testing before being readmitted.
  • Minister Blade Nzimande said these students would also need to go into quarantine at their own expense for at least 10 days.
  • As students returned to campus during lockdown Level 1, teaching and learning was expected to advance more rapidly, with catch-up programmes to be implemented. 

International students wishing to return to South African universities, will be subjected to Covid-19 testing before being admitted back to class.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said those students who remained outside the country, would also need to go into quarantine at their own expense for at least 10 days before proceeding to their respective institutions.

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It’s anticipated that as students returned to campus during lockdown Level 1, teaching and learning programmes would advance more rapidly, with catch-up programmes to be implemented.

“In terms of completion of the 2020 academic year, 10 universities aim to complete the academic year before the end of the 2020 calendar year, four universities plan to end in January 2021, seven plan to complete in February 2021, and five universities plan to complete in March 2021.

“This staggered ending of the academic year is linked to the ability to support students and to ensure that all students have been given a reasonable opportunity to succeed. There were some institutions that were not able to start their academic year effectively before the lockdown was implemented, and that is also reflected in this staggered end to the academic year,” said Nzimande.

First-years

Nzimande said the start of the new academic year for first-year students would be staggered between 8 March 2021 and 12 April 2021.

By 22 September 2020, there were 54 561 students living in university-owned residences.

“In addition, institutions reported that there were a further 49 360 students living in university leased and managed accommodation, 21 022 students living in university accredited private accommodation and 34 594 students living in other forms of private accommodation.

“Some institutions have indicated that not all students are taking up their invites to return to campuses, preferring to continue to work remotely,” Nzimande said.

The minister encouraged Grade 12 pupils who wished to study at TVET colleges in 2021, to apply immediately.

Nzimande said as a result of the late release of Matric results scheduled for 24 February 2021, new students registering for the N4 National Accredited Technical Education Diploma (NATED) programmes would be enrolled either for trimester 2 for engineering studies beginning in May 2021, or for semester 2 for business studies, which would begin in July 2021.

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