Dear parents, guardians and sponsors,
The University of Cape Town (UCT) is abuzz with activity as the academic programme continues into 2022.
We have welcomed thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate students onto our beautiful campuses and into residences.
Our approach this year is to significantly increase face-to-face teaching and learning. Of course, we will ensure that we follow responsible COVID-19 protocols during the year. Furthermore, we will adapt and align operations where necessary with prevailing circumstances we may face.
We are convinced of the immeasurably positive learning benefits that are derived from personal, face-to-face engagement. It is a significantly important mode of teaching for us as a contact university. We know students overall do better academically and socially when there is frequent, face-to-face engagement and it creates a vibrant campus life. We enhance these engagements by using existing and emerging digital technologies, taking into account the particular needs and opportunities of each course.
Managing the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded enormous additional effort and has cost the university financially. Putting learning resources online within an incredibly short period of time in early 2020, and creating additional capacity for extra student support demanded extraordinary effort across all UCT faculties and departments. Online teaching is more costly and has added to the institution’s many financial responsibilities and obligations as we face ongoing contractual agreements and obligations.
We are grateful to our key supporters for student financial assistance, including the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which is honouring its commitment to tuition funding for this academic year. A significant number of UCT students are on financial aid and we are very grateful for this assistance. Please see my recent communication about important information on financial assistance.
We remain incredibly grateful to you, the parents, guardians and sponsors who continue to pay the tuition fees that are due. You play a critical role in enabling us to complete the academic year successfully and in your student’s success, but also in keeping our institution sustainable into the future and for the next generation to follow.
We realise that many parents, guardians and sponsors face complexities of their own in these trying times. We acknowledge that for many the payments do not come easy. Thank you very, very much!
I also wish to update you on the recent student protest on our campuses. The protesters raised the complex issue of unpaid fees that prevents students with debt from re-registering for the new academic year. Council considered the matter at its special meeting in February and agreed to suspend the block on re-registration due to debt for one year only whilst calling on the university’s executive to review the institution’s financial aid and fees policy. Please note that this is not a writing off of the debt, but a concession that a student with debt may register for 2022 despite the debt. Since the Council decision, protest has ceased.
Thank you for supporting us and particularly for your continued financial support to UCT. You are a valued and critical stakeholder to UCT and to our collective success.
Remember, you can read all the wonderful news about UCT on our news website.
May we all have a successful year!
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
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