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Student organisations call for re-opening of campus residences for e-learning

Numerous students who have had to remain at home due to the nationwide lockdown have had limited access to the necessary resources including Wi-Fi, running water, and electricity.

FILE: Those whose lives were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic are calling for institutions to intervene. Picture: pexels.com

JOHANNESBURG - Student organisations are calling for tertiary owned residences and accommodation to re-open in order to enable students to complete the academic year.

Numerous students who have had to remain at home due to the nationwide lockdown have had limited access to the necessary resources including Wi-Fi, running water, and electricity.

Those whose lives were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic are calling for institutions to intervene.

Thousands of university students signed an online petition urging the Department of Higher Education to allow them to return to their campus residences in order to continue with online learning.

The South African Students Congress (Sasco) on Wednesday said returning to residences would allow students to participate meaningfully in the amended academic program.

“After reports that we received from different students from various universities and colleges, we decided that students ought to go back to their own respective residences,” said Sasco’s president Bamanye Matiwane.

Meanwhile, John Schooling of student accommodation group STAG African said while he sympathised with the students demands, the need to participate should not come at a risk of COVID-19 infection.

“Our government has taken a decision on coronavirus, but we’ve got to empathise with our students and put ourselves in their shoes. Very often when they are at home, it is not necessarily a conducive environment for student success,” he said.

Student organisations reiterated their call for universities to discontinue online learning until all students had equal means to fully participate.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.