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Nelson Mandela University is presently addressing various challenges facing both new and continuing students at the start of its 2021 academic year, which began on 23 March.

It has not been an easy period for either staff or students. Nonetheless, the University is committed to ensuring that late-arrivers are able to catch up on all academic work and assessments missed.

To this end, a series of interventions are in development, collectively referred to as the University’s “academic catch-up plans” for students who were unable to register before 5 April because of circumstances beyond their control.

These plans will run throughout an extended first semester to allow late-arriving students sufficient time to cover all the content, experiential learning, lab and studio work, clinical training, and assessments. Late-arriving first-years will additionally also be exposed to orientation and other support opportunities to help familiarise them with online learning at our University.

Faculty-based support
Faculties are being provided with lists of late-arriving students and lecturers are contacting these students directly. If such students should not have heard from their new lecturers, they should please email the orientation team on for urgent assistance.

Likewise, even if some late-arriving students are still having registration or any other challenges, they should continue to participate in the academic catch-up opportunities. Such students just need to alert their lecturers to this so that access to Moodle, for example, can be provided.

Support enablers
These catch-up initiatives are over-and-above the ongoing efforts already in place to enable all students to study in the new blended format. This includes the provision of data monthly; the special loan or laptop purchase opportunities and the ongoing improved access to good Wi-Fi within its general computer labs and residences, both on and off campus.

Late registration fees have been waived, and international students, who have not yet registered, for example, have been advised to email the International Office at regarding the estimation of fees, payment options or financial clearance.

Academic Staff Considerations

To minimise placing additional pressure on academic staff in terms of these supporting interventions, the faculties will endeavor to appoint contract staff, tutors, Supplemental Instruction (SI) leaders, First-Year-Success (FYS) and Digi Buddies, and so on, as is necessary to resource the catch-up programmes.

These interventions will be achieved in collaboration with lecturers and support from the Learning and Teaching Collaboration team (LT Collab).

In addition, the revised academic calendar, which is nearing finalisation, will enable most of July to be used for both assessments and further catch-up work with the late-arriving students so that this is concluded by the end of the first semester.

Professor Cheryl Foxcroft
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057