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This is an irresponsible tweet Deputy Minister @ButiManamela. It does not accord with the facts and is based on political gossip and hearsay. Here are the facts and how we view the issue.
1. There are other unis also beginning online teaching on 20 April as agreed at USAF. There is no violation of a national agreement – we agreed to enable multiple pathways of learning & to ensure that all students are given a fair opportunity to complete the year.
2. The interpretation of social justice underlying your tweet translates into a retreat to the lowest common denominator. This populist interpretation is anti-developmental, will weaken our institutions and entrench global inequality.
3. Our vision of social justice, which we believe accords with our Constitution, requires us to be conscious of the inequality in our midst and to intervene to address its consequences. Here is how we have done this.
4. We were aware that some students didn’t have devices, so we established a facility to loan 5000 laptops to disadvantaged students. Many of these laptops have been dispatched & others will be delivered before the end of the week.
5. Lectures will be recorded on our Learning Management System and can be accessed at the student’s convenience. Academics are on standby to assist students as they come online. The next 2 weeks will be used to acclimatise to the online learning process.
6. No tests or assignments will be due until 4 May.
7. Wits’ library & learning sites are zero-rated so students don’t need data to access them. Students have been given 30GB of data for 1 month on any of the 4 networks. This will allow them to participate in online classes and to explore educational resources for online learning.
8. For those who can’t manage online learning, additional measures will be put into place when contact teaching resumes. This may involve boot camps & other face to face learning processes in a restructured academic calendar.
9. @ButiManamela, social justice doesn’t require a reversion to the lowest common denominator. It requires an awareness of inequalities & an active intervention to mitigate its consequences. This is what we have done.
10. Be measured Deputy Minister, and act in the interest of the nation & not just political factions. This factional behaviour is what has destroyed so many public institutions. If you require any further information, please read Wits’ updates:
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