Higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande. Picture: SEBABATSO MOSAMO / SUNDAY TIMES
Higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande. Picture: SEBABATSO MOSAMO / SUNDAY TIMES

Higher education, science & technology minister Blade Nzimande will meet the leadership of higher education institutions on Tuesday to discuss whether to close their doors as part of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday evening that all schools are to close from Wednesday, as part of a package of restrictions on large gatherings, but stopped short of shutting universities and technology and vocational education colleges.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) announced on Sunday night that it is ending term 1 early, and several others, including the University of Johannesburg and Rhodes University, have suspended contact lectures and moved all learning to online platforms.

“We are encouraging all institutions [to] suspend contact lectures, and limit contact. But we are not imposing a shutdown. That is a matter we will discuss tomorrow,” he said.

“Most institutions are using online more and managing students and residences to minimise contact. All major gatherings must be cancelled or postponed,” he said.

Two universities have so far confirmed cases of Covid-19 — a Wits medical student and a lecturer at UCT, he said.

UCT said on Sunday that it had decided to break immediately for the term 1 vacation, suspend all classes from Monday, and close its residences. It gave students until Wednesday to leave.

kahnt@busineslive.co.za