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Moving academic programmes online following rise in Covid-19 cases

Tertiary institutions looking to continue with academic programmes online to ensure students keep up with learning programmes

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IMAGE: By@yomzansi

To ensure that academic activities continue, schools have come up with an initiative to continue with academic activities online to ensure that teaching and learning continue remotely.

Tertiary institutions are looking to follow in the steps of the University of South Africa in terms of offering learning programmes online to ensure that students are not left behind.

We saw the University of Johannesburg, Wits University as well as the University of Cape Town be the first to shutdown academic activities following the president’s announcement to shutdown schools until further notice.

Elijah Moholola, the University of Cape Town (UCT) spokesperson, said they looking to develop a different approach to teaching and learning to keep up with the academic year.

Taking that there are those students who may not afford or have access to data, this also aims to take that into account. Online teaching would have low-tech options so that students with low bandwidth connections could participate fully.

“Arrangements are being made by UCT, Universities SA and service providers for zero-rated mobile data to specific UCT online resources, so that students do not have to carry the costs of remote learning,” Moholola said.

Other universities looking to implement these measures have said:

University of Western Cape spokesperson Gasant Abarder said the university had a well-established institutional learning management system, which enabled students to continue studying remotely.

  • University of Western Cape spokesperson Gasant Abarder said “the university had a well-established institutional learning management system, which enabled students to continue studying remotely.”
  • University of Pretoria (UP) vice-chancellor and principal Professor Tawana Kupe said UP had activated its learning continuity plan through the online teaching and learning channels.

Other: Third case confirmed at UCT

The University of Cape Town has reported its third case of the coronavirus.

“In all three instances, the provincial Department of Health confirmed the cases through the prescribed protocol. The three colleagues involved are in quarantine.

“The Department of Health has also immediately begun contact tracing in the respective cases and those identified as close contacts have been informed and asked to quarantine themselves for two weeks,” Phakeng added.

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Universities

Gift of the givers donates ultra-fast Covid-19 test kit to UKZN

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The University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) received ultra-fast Covid-19 test kit valued at $10 000, this was a donation made by the Gift the Givers foundation.

The ILEX Genehacker (testing unit) was donated to the institution after a request by UKZN researchers, professor Anil Chuturgoon, Dr Vernon Ramsuran and Dr. Lona Madurai.

Covid-19 cases within higher education institutions are expected to grow as institutions open up to more students and staff. The University of KwaZulu-Natal has reported the infections of a student and a staff member.Those who came into contact with the student and staff member have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

 “This generous donation will greatly enhance our existing capacity to provide rapid results on Covid-19 tests for both our staff and students. At the same time by extending our testing facility to external stakeholders we are able to generate much needed third-stream income for the university”, acting dean of research in the CHS and a lead researcher in Covid-19 testing platforms at UKZN, Chuturgoon said.

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Universities

TUTEH introduces new digital platform for simplified accommodation

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The Tswane University of Technology Enterprise Holdings (TUTEH) launched a digital platform which provides a solution to the accommodation challenges students have been facing.

The new digital platform, TRes was set up to simplify student accommodation and enable accommodation providers to manage all essential aspects of providing student accommodation.

TRes was developed by the TUT Enterprise Holdings.

The platform also includes a unique feature where students can rate the quality of their accommodation daily.

“The design and functionality of the platform aim to create on-going interaction between students, accommodation providers and university administrators in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. The core idea behind TRes is that students accommodation is not only big business, but also about human dignity. It is about the total experience of being a university student, which is a critical contributory factor to student performance”, said TUTEH CEO, Nicholas Motsatse.

For more information: www.tres.co.za

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Universities

SA’s first vaccine trial for Covid-19 underway

The University of the Witwatersrand announced that the first clinical trial for a vaccine against Covid-19 begins this week.

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The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) held a virtual press conference today to announce the first clinical trial for a vaccine against Covid-19 which will begin this week.

Participants for the South African Oxford 1 Covid-19 vaccine trial were screened last week and the first participants will be vaccinated this week.

The South African Ox1COV-19 vaccine VIDA- Trial aims to find a vaccine that will prevent infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Leading the South African Ox1COV-19 vaccine VIDA- Trial is Shabir Madhi, Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University and Director of the South Africa Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit (VIDA).

Wits University is working together with the University of Oxford and the Oxford Jenner Institute on the South African Trial

“This is a landmark moment for South Africa and Africa at this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic. As we enter winter in South Africa and pressure increases on public hospitals, now more than ever we need a vaccine to prevent infection by Covid-19,” said Madhi

VIDEO: YouTube ( Wits University Official)

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