MUT update on plans for the completion of the 2020 academic year

Press statement: Bheki Hlophe; 082 432 1805                                             22 April 2020

For immediate release

 

MUT update on plans for the completion of the 2020 academic year

In a message to the university community: MUT Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, detailed the university’s plan to complete the 2020 academic year through a combination of various modes of teaching and learning depending on directives from government on the national COVID-19 guidelines.

Dr Malaza informed staff and students that the MUT Management had decided that:

  1. The University will gradually phase in the resumption of teaching and learning, and the return of students to residences following the lifting of the Lockdown.
  2. MUT’s readiness to comply fully with national COVID-19 guidelines and directives will determine the prioritisation order for students to return to campus and residences. Students in the top priority list will include:
  • Final year students and postgraduate students;
  • Students enrolled in programmes involving practical and laboratory work; and
  • Students with disabilities.
  1. Teaching and learning will resume through a blended education model. The contact mode will be allowed while complying with national COVID-19 guidelines and directives. The University will use ICT-based platforms to the greatest extent possible to complement and enrich the contact mode of teaching.
  2. If the government extends the Lockdown beyond 30 April 2020, the following scenarios will inform the adjustment of the academic year 2020 (AY2020) depending on the evolving national directives.

 

  SCENARIO 1 SCENARIO 2 SCENARIO 3
Return date: 1 June 2020 1 August 2020 1 October 2020
Completion date of AY2020: 24 December 2020 20 February 2021 31 April 2021
Duration: 27 weeks 27 weeks 27 weeks

The decision was informed by three principles adopted by the MUT Management after wide consultations. “The consultation process has included engagement with the student body through the SRC, and with Universities South Africa (USAf) through its structures representing the Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors: Academic, and Registrars. MUT Management has also reflected on perspectives emerging from structures set up by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, mainly the DHET and the Ministerial Post-school has Training and Education System COVID-19 Task Team,” said Dr Malaza.

The three principles which guide the MUT management’s way forward are:

Principle 1: MUT is committed to the completion of the 2020 academic year subject to the evolving national guidelines and directives aimed at combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. MUT will at all times strictly adhere to the guidelines and instructions from Government which will take precedence over all other considerations as we strive towards the completion of the 2020 academic year.

Principle 2: MUT will endeavour to ensure that no student is left behind due to physical infrastructure, ICT infrastructure and internet connectivity issues that are within the control of the University.

MUT is sensitive to the social justice challenges arising from socio-economic inequalities in our society. The University will strive towards ensuring a learning environment conducive to curbing the spread of the novel Coronavirus and will provide, to the greatest extent possible, for the full participation of students in the teaching and learning programme through adequate ICT infrastructure and internet connectivity.

Principle 3: MUT will endeavour to support remote learning for all students. This method of education is the future, even if the University manages to restore the contact mode of teaching and learning to its entirety. The University will invest in enabling our students and staff to have proficiency in the various ICT platforms available.

MUT Management’s decision comes at a time when universities across South Africa are scrambling to rollout online learning quickly to save the academic year from spilling over into 2021.

“Some universities in the country have indicated that they have planned to commence with online learning from 20 April 2020 and it is likely that some work will begin during this period. Unfortunately, given the many challenges relating to the socio-economic status of our students and constraints on Institutional readiness to fully embark on online learning, MUT is not among these universities. In reality, only a handful of South African universities are well prepared for this sudden, disruptive move. Many institutions are reactive and improvising as they go along,” said Dr Malaza.

Dr Malaza also informed staff and students that the further communication would be issued as soon as the President announced the lifting of the national Lockdown. This communication will give more detail on the phased opening of residences and the resumption of teaching and learning, or the most likely scenario for the completion of the 2020 academic year.

ENDS

 

Bheki Hlophe (Mr)
Publications and Media Relations officer: Marketing & Communications
Mangosuthu University of Technology
T: +27 31 907 7195  M: +27 61 283 2257
E: Hlophe@mut.ac.za