Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) has valiantly tried to resume classes and continue with academic work this week. However, circumstances on the ground made this extremely difficult – with ongoing student protests and subsequent clashes with members of the South African Police Service (SAPS).
This has led to an increasing difficulty to conduct lectures on the South Campus.
We understand that these circumstances have been quite traumatic for most, and perhaps all our staff and students. It is important to hold onto the resolve to complete studies started this year. We remain determined, as we have always been, to do our best to get our academic programmes completed as far as possible in 2016.
We wish to confirm that NMMU remains open. That said, as things stand, we do understand that it will not be possible to conduct classes on South Campus.
However, we will be employing a range of alternative modalities in order to best complete this year’s programmes. We will prioritise getting the modules completed for those students in their final years of study, but will also address all years of study.
At the moment faculties are making assessments taking into consideration year levels, module types, teaching and learning requirements and a range of modalities. These include learning resources such as learning packs, digital resources, and a variety of learning spaces as well as assessment requirements. We are also making assessments in each faculty of what is required for postgraduate students to complete their work in order to graduate next year.
It is important to note that the majority of universities in South Africa are in a similar position, but each university also has particular circumstances, capacities and contexts to consider. Many of the institutions have undertaken to assist each other where possible by sharing resources where there are overlaps in module outcomes and content. This is a welcome development, and will stand us in good stead for future collaborations in the higher education sector.
Faculties will communicate exact arrangements for each of the modules soon. We will continue to provide various kinds of support during this period, the details of which will be made known early next week, and on an ongoing basis.
Exam dates will be communicated once the assessment of programmes referred to above has been completed.
In the meantime, lecturers have already been providing materials online and in other forms, and we ask that students be proactive in pursuing their learning through open education resources, textbooks, library materials and information they may be able to source from peers in other institutions.
In respect to on campus residences, which had encountered several difficulties, we need to reiterate that they have to remain safe areas. A number of measures to support our resident students are available and we will do all we can to ensure the residences remain conducive for living and learning.
We request your understanding and patience as we shift from full contact only to a mixture of contact and alternative teaching and learning delivery modes. We urge students to take self-responsibility, and keep determined to complete their studies this year, despite the challenging circumstances we are experiencing as a sector and as a country.
Communication and Stakeholder Liaison