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CUT Expert Panel on Higher Education During The Pandemic



CUT Expert Panel on Higher Education During The Pandemic

CUT Expert Panel on Higher Education During The Pandemic. On 28 June 2023, a panel of experts, including delegates from various South African universities and education bodies, gathered for an online symposium to discuss the implications of the pandemic on higher education planning, funding, and quality assurance.

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The Pandemic Impact on Higher Education

South African universities, traditionally reliant on face-to-face teaching, had to quickly pivot to online and blended learning models to comply with pandemic regulations. This transition presented challenges in ensuring continuity of academic programs while maintaining quality and accessibility for students and staff.

Insights from Dr. Gary Paul, CUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Dr. Gary Paul, a panel member from the Central University of the Free State (CUT), highlighted the need for institutions to rethink their operating models for financial sustainability and resilience. He emphasized the importance of investing in off-campus infrastructure and digital training to support blended learning approaches.

Dr. Paul suggested several cost-saving measures, including leveraging virtual and augmented reality for academic delivery, negotiating competitive data pricing with mobile network operators, and diversifying income streams. He also stressed the significance of enhancing employees’ digital literacy, noting its positive impact on organizational performance and agility.

Aligning South African Higher Education with Global Standards

The symposium underscored the importance of aligning South African higher education with global standards and best practices. The discussions and solutions presented at the event are crucial for shaping future policy directions and ensuring the competitiveness of South African universities on the global stage.


The symposium served as a platform for critical discussions on the future of higher education in South Africa post-pandemic. The insights shared by experts like Dr. Gary Paul provide valuable guidance for institutions seeking to navigate the challenges of blended learning and digital transformation.

CUT active participation in these discussions reflects its commitment to driving positive change in the higher education landscape.

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