IN QUOTES | Blade Nzimande on the impact of Covid-19 on tertiary students

15 June 2021 - 14:27
Higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande says a study has revealed that most tertiary students have not turned to alcohol and cigarettes to help them cope during the pandemic. File photo.
Higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande says a study has revealed that most tertiary students have not turned to alcohol and cigarettes to help them cope during the pandemic. File photo.
Image: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande has expressed concern about the impact of Covid-19 on tertiary students. 

The minister was at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in the Western Cape on Monday during the release of a study into the impact of Covid-19 on the youth and students in the post-school education sector.

The study conducted by Higher Health and higher education institutions revealed the mental health of students took a knock during the lockdown and said counselling and emotional support services were made available to ensure their mental wellness.

The study also revealed students in TVET colleges were more affected by the hard lockdown due to limited access to the internet.

Here are five quotes from his address:

Youth affected by Covid-19

“The fact that young people are losing their parents and grandparents due to Covid-19 is too much. Also the way we bury people today and the fact that we can’t bury our family members, ask yourself what kind of youth are we generating and what kind of effect are we going to start seeing in 20 to 30 years?”

Covid-19 training for students

“Higher Health built online and in-person training across all our campuses and established a network of more than 49,000 capacitated individuals. That includes frontline staff and student support staff, including wardens. Around 12,000 student volunteers have been trained to handle Covid-19 and its negative impact on our institutions.”

First-year students 

“I am concerned about first-year students because they are the ones who need to be on campus most. They need to adjust from school to university. It is very important that we focus on them.”

Covid-19 cluster outbreaks 

“Since mid-October 2020, a few Covid-19 cluster outbreaks have been experienced in institutions in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, North West and Gauteng. To address these outbreaks, Higher Health and our leadership have assembled investigation teams which have included the World Health Organisation and other relevant institutions to manage and contain these outbreaks.”

Most students did not turn to alcohol to cope

“If the study tells us more than 75% of our students do not engage in drinking alcohol and smoking as a way of coping, that is a very strong foundation to build a sober nation and do away with smoking.” 


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