Central University of Technology status declared as medium risk

CUT ensures no student left behind during Covid-19

17 September 2020 - 12:51
Prof Henk de Jager and deputy minister Buti Manamela elbow bump one another, during his recent visit to CUT.
Prof Henk de Jager and deputy minister Buti Manamela elbow bump one another, during his recent visit to CUT.
Image: Supplied/CUT

The deputy minister of higher education, science and innovation, Buti Manamela, said he appreciates the efforts of Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) to curb the spread of Covid-19, and to ensure that the 2020 academic year is completed.

Manamela visited the university on September 1 to monitor safety protocols in line with the phased reopening of the post-school education and training system under level 2. He said he realised the importance of visiting CUT to understand the challenges faced by the university.

“I’m quite happy that the status has changed, that we are now medium risk and that you are doing all you can to make sure the situation improves,” said Manamela. He challenged student leadership to become champions of transformation in institutions of learning, saying that protests don't have to be negative, and can actually effect positive change.  

Higher Health CEO Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia, who joined the visit, highlighted innovations such as the Health Check USSD, making accessing campuses easier, and the national 24-hour hotline, which offers mental health support.

CUT vice-chancellor and principal professor Henk de Jager took the deputy minister through the safety regulations implemented on the Bloemfontein and Welkom campuses as well as the interventions that ensure that online learning continues.

Manamela also toured a student residence, the on-campus clinic and the Centre of Rapid Prototype Manufacturing to see how CUT is implementing the Covid-19 regulations.

“We made R1m available to the Covid-19 Research & Innovation grant for our research teams. We’ve donated sanitisers to our provincial government and sponsored material to a community project. But I believe our major challenge is access to appropriate technology and internet connectivity for our students,” said de Jager.

Realising the challenges some students were facing, the CUT Covid-19 Relief Fund was established to attract external donations. “To date, we have received about R600,000 and helped about 371 students who receive monthly support through this programme,” said de Jager.

“The work that the institution has done to give students devices, and to allow those without internet at home to come back to campus, is applaudable as we are making sure no student is left behind,” said Manamela.

For more information, call +27 (51) 507-3752 or visit www.cut.ac.za.

This article was paid for by the Central University of Technology.