Bheki Hlophe – 082 432 1805 4 June 2020
For immediate release
MUT drives a campaign to save lives and the academic year as Level 3 of Lockdown kicks in
As part of its total package for the preparations for the reopening of the University, the Mangosuthu University of Technology has crafted a campaign by which it will drive the efforts to save lives and the rest of the 2020 academic year. Announcing the campaign to staff and students, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marcus Ramogale explained the rationale for the campaign.
“As we charge ahead with opening our campuses on 17 June 2020, I wish to commit all of us to this theme of ‘saving lives and saving the academic year’. It is our fervent aspiration to ensure that we save lives while saving the academic year,” said Professor Ramogale.
Professor Ramogale said the campaign was the University’s response to the recent announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that South Africa was moving to level 3 of the Lockdown which allows the country’s higher education institutions to reopen, but continue to adhere to certain restrictions, the most important of which was to bring back only 33% of their students.
In terms of University’s readiness for reopening, Professor Ramogale indicated that the University had scored some developments with regard to the Teaching and Learning project plans, which are the remote Multimodal Teaching, Learning and Assessment Plan (MTLAP), and the Campus Readiness plan. Both these plans have been developed to ensure that all necessary logistics were put in place in time for the reopening of the University.
Multimodal Teaching, Learning and Assessment Plan (MTLAP)
Professor Ramogale said that this was a comprehensive plan that would ensure that all the students were catered for in terms of the call from Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training, Science and Innovation, that no student was left behind. MUT has developed remote Multimodal Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Plans, which are currently awaiting the Minister’s approval, and that their details would be communicated to staff and students. The MTLAP is intended to cater for the following categories of students:
- Students who are unable to work effectively at home under Lockdown conditions, for a range of reasons.
- Students who do not have access to devices and cannot engage in any form of online or digital learning.
- Students who may have devices but do not have data and/or connectivity to enable participation in online learning opportunities but could engage in digital learning if electronic material is made available.
- Students who have devices, data, connectivity and conducive study conditions and can participate in online learning opportunities.
- Students living with disabilities are part of all the groups described above and multimodal plans also cater to their needs.
Professor Ramogale also announced that there was a comprehensive project plan which would be implemented in line with the phased reopening of the University, the details of which would be communicated by academic Deans in the three faculties – Engineering, Management Sciences, and Natural Sciences.
The elements of the project plan are:
- The revision of the academic calendar;
- Procurement of student laptops as announced by the DHET;
- Distribution of printed learning materials and USBs to students;
- Facilitation of the phased return of students; and
- Catch-up interventions during the full return of all students to campus according to the previous degree of engagement with learning materials.
The Remote Multimodal Teaching, Learning and Assessment Plan (RMTLAP)
Professor Ramogale also announced that the Remote Multimodal Teaching and Learning Plan would be implemented in two phases, which are remote multimodal teaching and the phased return of students until all students were able to return to campus. The projection was that all students would return to campus by September 2020, depending on national COVID-19 regulations and related protocols.
The implementation of the RMTLAP will start on 1 July 2020. “Staff members who require access to their offices to facilitate the uploading of teaching and learning materials will be granted a three-day window period to do so,” said Professor Ramogale. Professor Ramogale said that teaching and learning materials would be available on Blackboard from 1 July 2020. Students without access to digital platforms will receive study packs. The University will conduct a survey to determine students’ needs, verify their learning conditions and delivery addresses so it could mail the study materials to students.
COVID-19 Campus Readiness
Professor Ramogale announced that the University’s COVID-19 Task Team was looking into all health protocols, guidelines, and legislation in preparation for the safe return of staff and students. “Systems and processes are being put in place so that when staff and students return to campus, everyone should all be on the same mission, which is: Save the academic year and to save lives, said Professor Ramogale. He added that the University management had commenced developing concrete plans in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus,” said Professor Ramogale.
Currently, University access is only limited to the staff members performing work classified as essential for the University to function.