It has been four months since the University of Cape Town suspended all mass gatherings on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the national lockdown. In light of this, the university has decided to move certain 2020 events online.
The annual TB Davie Memorial Lecture, organised by the Academic Freedom Committee, will take place on Wednesday, 5 August, at 18:00. It will be delivered by guest speaker Professor Ravi Kanbur.
The Vice-Chancellor’s Inaugural Lecture series will also be moved online. Professor Hussein Suleman, head of the Department of Computer Science, will present his lecture “Computer science at times of crisis: reflecting on societal drivers for software and algorithm design” on 30 September.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put inequalities in the higher education sector in the spotlight. In response, UCT is hosting a series of virtual events under the banner: “Unleashing the new global university”. Two events have already taken place, with the following to come:
The university will continue to limit the number of people on campus and has developed a COVID-19 Return to UCT policy framework accordingly. In order to engage with staff on this, UCT’s chief operating officer, Dr Reno Morar, will host an open PASS Forum virtually on 6 August 2020.
Women are especially celebrated in August with a special focus on those who have achieved greatness in their fields. This year, the annual Women’s Month event will be held online. UCT Chancellor Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe has been earmarked as the keynote speaker, while panellists will include For Womxn by Womxn Scholarship recipients. Further details will be shared later.
When lockdown started, the UCT executive was already engaging with staff to develop a new university strategy that focuses on the challenges and opportunities as we move towards 2030. To ensure that the UCT of tomorrow is responsive to the needs of future generations, a number of online sessions will be held with various staff groupings to continue this process. Details will be shared in the next few weeks.
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COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March.
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In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”
We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.