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Students to benefit from future economic developments

Economic development to contribute more to the large population which are students moving forward.

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The Black Business Summit 2019 was held at Gallagher Estate where prominent public figures joined to discuss economic issues.

During the Black Business Council summit the Premier of Gauteng took time to shed light on how the government proposes to contribute to higher education and growth of graduates.

Government aims to have new developments such as new post-apartheid City Development together with Broadband infrastructure and transport to make a positive contribution to students’ lives. Taking into consideration transport, data, accommodation and safety.

Taking that there is a large population of students in Gauteng, the plan is to make these development contribute to the growth of graduates and infrastructure where students will reside.

 Premier of Gauteng David Makhura said, “We work closely with Universities Vice Chancellors on issues of infrastructure development.

In the past month student protests have flared up, and one of the ongoing grievances brought forward was the lack of accommodation which left some students sleeping on campus.

“Education institutions have to be part of our planning, particularly student accommodation”, David Makhura said.

The government’s proposed strategy with developing new Post-apartheid City Development is to get all these new settlements, human settlements, student villages to be part of the architecture of the new housing developments in Gauteng.

“To do so means we need multi Campus student accommodations and we need to create infrastructure and facilities for students”.

Another initiative put forward was the is the ” Tshepho one million “, a programme aimed at offering graduates employment opportunities including assisting future entrepreneurs.

“Education is the #NO 1 priority”

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Universities

Minister Blade Nzimande on NSFAS Covid-19 contingency plan and disbursements

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Covid-19 contingency plan and disbursements

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Full statement : https://bit.ly/2wIJWNz

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Preliminary work on coronavirus vaccine underway in SA

The University of Cape Town together with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as well as the Biological and Vaccines Institute of Southern Africa started work on the development of a vaccine for the Covid-19 virus

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With the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus which has had a global impact, disrupting not only economies but proving to be one of the grave challenges the health sector has been faced with.

Taking that there is still no cure or vaccine for the Covid-19 virus, scientists as well as researchers from various parts of the world have started preliminary work on a coronavirus vaccine.

South Africa has started work on the development of a vaccine for the Covid-19 virus, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has said.

This project is being taken on by the University of Cape Town together with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as well as the Biological and Vaccines Institute of Southern Africa.

In a response following President Cyril Ramaphosa‘s announcement of a 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, Nzimande said a number of existing drugs was currently being re-purposed and tested for efficacy, adding current international trials under the co-ordination of the World Health Organisation were being monitored.

Nzimande further added that “Progress is expected in about 18 months” 

“The South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis has been engaging with other data and modelling groups to refine its assumptions to produce an updated model of the spread of the virus.

This is expected to be completed by friday, Nzimande said.

In terms of diagnostic tools, he added it had become urgent to locally manufacture reagents for testing kits.

“These are currently being imported and the lockdown may threaten access to supplies.”

“The Department of Science and Innovation has negotiated the re-purposing of various facilities and labs to respond to the outbreak. The entities in line to assist include Biovac, Centres of Excellence in TB Research, Centre of Proteomic and Genomic Research and Afrigen Bio.”

“Discussions are underway to facilitate accreditation for some of the facilities to produce reagents. The team will be discussing budget requirements this afternoon.”

“For the above projects, the Department of Science and Innovation has already availed R12-million and will redirect an additional R30-million.”

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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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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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