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Online Learning Is Here To Stay

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Many universities have made changes to their traditional learning systems because of Covid-19. From contact classes to online classes, the higher education system will have to keep adapting. 

Minister Blade Nzimande, the minister responsible for Higher Education said most universities have handled blended learning well. Some universities even said they have been performing better this year than in previous years.

"Initial research indicates positive impact in many cases in respect of (i) the multimodal, blended approach to teaching and learning, (ii) opportunities provided to students to learn in different ways, more flexibly and at their own pace, and (iii) multiple assessment methods," said Minister Nzimande. 

At the moment, some universities have combined online lessons with contact lessons. The Minister hopes blended learning will continue to be part of South Africa's higher education system.

"It is clear that blended and multimodal learning, including digital and online learning must become a standard part for the future higher education system. In this regard I intend next year to set up a Ministerial Task Team to help us develop strategies to make online learning a reality in our sector."
 
However, even though some universities have been responding well to blended learning, some students still struggle to gain access to the internet. 
 
"A significant number of students, especially those at historically-black universities and campuses, and those living in working class and poor communities, have struggled to access digital platforms because of lack of devices, connectivity and other family household circumstances,"
 
This is something that the higher education department will be looking into, as it hopes to provide more access to disadvantaged students.
 
Minister Nzimande said things are looking up for most universities as they are coping and are not at risk of failing to complete the academic year. 
 

"I want to assure South Africans that all our universities are fully committed to complete the 2020 academic year by mid-March 2021."

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