Durban University of Technology implements interim online learning

The Durban University of Technology Steve Biko campus. Picture: Khulasande Tshayile.

The Durban University of Technology Steve Biko campus. Picture: Khulasande Tshayile.

Published Aug 6, 2023


Durban — DUT senior director of Corporate Affairs Alan Khan has said that the Durban University of Technology’s Executive Management Committee (EMC) and the Senate Executive Committee (Senex) have resolved to implement an online learning for all programmes, on all campuses, from Monday, August 7, until further notice.

This after the university encountered a string of class disruptions due to the ongoing student protests around all its campuses. The university said that it took the decision with consideration of student safety and staff.

The decision was taken at the joint EMC-Senex meeting that took place on Friday, after the members met with the Student Representative Council (SRC) to discuss the operations, following the impact of the recent student protests.

Khan said, “It must be noted that while the online learning will be taking place, the university will not be closed. This temporary measure will ensure that the academic programme is not compromised further.”

It is reported that over the last few days the university faced unwarranted protests that disrupted lectures and also led to instances of intimidation and threats aimed at DUT’s staff and non-protesting students.

Khan said that DUT fully respected and supported the rights of individuals to express their opinions and concerns, but it also believed in upholding the rule of law and the values and principles as enshrined in ENVISION2030.

The recent disruptions, threats and incidents of intimidation certainly do not align with living the DUT values and principles, he added.

“The main issue raised by the protesters related to direct payments that recipients of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) receive.

“NSFAS has adopted a direct payment system called eZaga. It must be noted that NSFAS appointed their own supplier to manage the eZaga payments. DUT was not involved in the payment process, nor was it involved in the appointment of the supplier. Some students have experienced challenges with receiving their funds from NSFAS,” Khan stated.

When the university was informed of this, he added, DUT immediately engaged with NSFAS and urged them to speedily resolve the issues that were raised by their recipients. The university had timeously informed and updated the SRC on these developments, he said.

Khan elaborated, “The DUT Financial Aid unit has been in contact with NSFAS to resolve the eZaga inefficiencies. The following facts were gathered:

  • A total of 21 165 students were paid allowances on Tuesday, August 1, according to a report received from NSFAS.
  • According to our records, 1051 students were not paid by NSFAS. Financial aid is in the process of engaging with NSFAS to establish reasons for the non-payment.
  • The names of the affected students were collated via the SRC and a link was created for students to enlist their names, which was issued on Wednesday, August 2.

“A further enquiry was made with NSFAS on Friday, 04 August, about payments of the outstanding allowances.”

DUT Student Services and the SRC intervened to assist the students who were affected by the delayed NSFAS eZaga payments.

The issue concerning the wi-fi network in some of the residences is acknowledged and our ICTS unit has confirmed that they have started installing an upgraded WiFi6 network.

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