Dear colleagues and students
The University of Cape Town (UCT) Council made several key decisions at their last meeting, including decisions on student fees. This campus announcement provides the UCT community with an update of these and other recent developments.
1. Impact of Council’s decisions on the academic year
Council has decided that the student registration fee block in respect of 2020 debt for South African and African students be lifted. The university will make every effort to support students in the process of servicing their debt. In this regard, R30 million has been set aside to support criterion-based debt appeals for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
As a result, faculties will continue with the registration of returning students until Friday, 19 March 2021. Registration may differ among faculties and departments, but the university is committed to assisting all students in fully onboarding and supporting students academically so that they are not left behind.
The academic year started on Tuesday, 16 March. Except for courses with special dispensations, all academic activity will take place only online for this week. No invigilated examinations will take place this week. Tests planned for this week will be rescheduled and course convenors will provide relevant details. UCT Libraries will provide only virtual services this week. This arrangement will remain in place until Tuesday, 23 March.
2. Reduced UKRI-ODA budget to impact 2021/22 funding
The United Kingdom’s recent reduction of its aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income will have a significant impact on individual grants and the funding of Official Development Assistance (ODA) programmes, with 2021/22 ODA allocations reduced by around 50%.
The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has thus indicated that its ODA funding for the 2021/22 financial year will be affected. It will continue to support all ODA grants and contracts according to their usual arrangements for the first quarter of 2021/22, but will not be liable for the cost of new activities entered into thereafter; and is unable to provide funding for the majority of awards beyond the amount currently agreed on up to 31 July 2021. No new awards will be initiated where proposals have been submitted but have not yet reached the grant award stage.
3. Update on COVID-19 cases
As at 15 March, the university has 347 reported cases of COVID-19 among non-health sciences staff members, with 313 recoveries. The number of students who have tested positive stands at 100. The university has lost 19 staff members and two students to the virus.
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