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GPSOPA19: Student’s expectations ahead of SOPA 2019

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The State of the Nation Address set out to address the issues affecting South Africa as a whole, one which works based on the collaboration of the country’s government to move it forward.

Now we gear up for the provincial government to address citizens on how its contribution in aiding with the pressing issues within each province will serve to uplift and develop the people, various institutions and the economy.

Earlier this year, Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced that underused government buildings will be converted into student accommodation at universities and colleges in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Most of the issues raised by students center around the student accommodation.

These were among the issues raised and that students expect the premier to touch on during his address:

  • Students are still without funding and for some of those who have access to funding, funding is not enough to cover their educational expenses.
  • Students are still sleeping in libraries due to lack of accommodation
  • A concerning percentage of Students who have graduated are still without jobs
  • A lot of degrees offered to students are theory focused and offer little or no practical or work experience
  • Student’s traveling from far due to the lack of student residents.
  • Students looking for companies and private sectors that cater to different fields to collaborate with institutions for work experience and skills training purposes.
  • A sufficient number of “A” students from the secondary level are unable to register to study at varsity, even though they do qualify.
  • The inability of university degrees to prepare them for the workplace.
  • In every field, students should be exposed to the possibilities and successes of venturing into entrepreneurship within their field of study.

The SOPA will take place on the 1st of July 2019 at the Univerisity of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus. The Premier of Gauteng, David Makhura will be addressing the province about the plans set out by the government to grow the greater Gauteng.

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Universities

R100 million plegde to reduce student fees

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Regenesys Business School has taken the initiative to reduce fees that students have to pay to study business programmes by 60%.

A pledge of R100 million has been made by the institution. This comes after looking at how the Covid-19 outbreak has affected people’s income.

This is the institutions lockdown initiative which is said to be made available to the first 500 students to register for the online MBA, Bachelor, Diploma, and Certificate programmes for the period between May and August 2020.

“Regenesys is deeply committed to helping all members of society that have been affected by pay cuts and job losses to develop a competitive edge and bounce back from the pandemic or to start their own new venture”, said Dr Marko Saravanja, Chairperson of Regenesys Business School.

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Universities

What level 3 means for higher education institutions

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The Deparment of Higher Education, Science and Technology has been working on plans to enhance online learning platforms to accommodate students so that remote learning can continue.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday (24 May), that the country will move to level 3 lockdown from the 1st of June.

The Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technolgy, Buti Manamela talking to Cape Talk explained how higher education institutions are getting ready for the reopening of universities from the 1st of June.

33% of students will be returning to campus. “Univeristies will be spending this time building up to ensure that they get the universities ready according to the guidelines and protocols regarding sanitation, PPE, and quarantine”

He further stated that most univeristies needed atleast two weeks to prepare for the students who are allowed to return to campus.

Adding to the medical and clinical students who are in campus, trimetser students will be returning to TVET colleges, these are engineering students.

This will be followed by a phase-in return of other students within various fields.

“We have had discussions with unions, students Vice-chancellors that we will have to reconstitute the academic year, that we really complete that”

In conclusion he added that, ” What we have been working on, is that all students by 1 June get some form of support and that is what we have asked universities to do -either send them a device, learning materials, data,”

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Minister Blade Nzimande to hold briefing on lockdown in the higher education sector

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Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation,Dr Blade Nzimande will hold a media briefing on matters pertaining to the lockdown in the higher education, science and innovation sector.

The Minister will be addressing the public based on their concerns about schools reopening.

The South African Union of Students ( SAUS) has expressed their concerns, and are hoping that Minister Nzimande will speak on allowing higher education institutions to reopen since Basic education sector is preparing to have grade 7and 12 learners back in school.

The Minister will address amongst other issues NSFAS allowances,SETAs stipends and the return of medical students to campus.

In the science and innovation sector, there will be an update on research on South Africa’s traditional medicine and the engagements with stakeholders in relation to indigenous knowledge systems and COVID-19.

The briefing will take place today at 11am.

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