Our primary responsibility is to save lives when reopening universities – Buti Manamela

Deputy Minister of Higher Education Buti Manamela visits University of Johannesburg to assess the state of readiness for the phased return of students and staff to campuses. Photo: Twitter @mediauj

Under Level 3 regulations universities and other institutions of higher learning have been given green light to bring back 33% of their campus population. 

Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology Buti Manamela visited two higher learning institutions in Gauteng on Friday to check their state of readiness for reopening next Monday. 

Under level 3 regulations universities and other institutions of higher learning have been given green light to bring back 33% of their campus population.

Manamela first visited the University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park campus, where he was screened as he arrived.

The university had implemented social distancing measures, screening, and hand sanitisation across the campus.

The deputy minister next stop was Ekurhuleni West College, he said: “Our primary responsibility is to save lives and the department is working closely with campuses and higher health to curb the spread of the virus and follow regulations outlined by the government.”

He was impressed with the state of readiness of both higher learning institutions.

The department’s key concerns with reopening universities were students that will not be left behind, however, he said students who won’t be returning back to campus will receive the necessary support lives, Jacaranda reported.

UJ will be welcoming back 47,269 students on campus, which is around 18% of its student population.

University vice-chancellor Profesor Tshilidzi Marwala said there were specific criteria followed in deciding which students should return.

Health sciences students took priority, students with disabilities, and those with limited to no internet connection at home.

(Compiled by Sandisiwe Mbhele)

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