Advanced Certificate in Nature Conservation Class of 2020

Advanced Certificate in Nature Conservation: Transfrontier Conservation

Trying circumstances with some revisions to timelines

There are some positive things to result from the lock-down, although under incredibly trying circumstances for both the College and its students. The time has given many of us a chance to delve deeper into the depths of the different learning and teaching technologies available. We acknowledge that the learning curve for many is not easy, not only for the College but for all training institutions who are currently precluded from offering any contact training during the Covid-19 lockdown. Providing education for students that have only ever been engaged in contact training versus online training is however a challenge. In the College’s case even more so as many of our students are scattered across the African landscape; some with very real and challenging issues when it comes to connectivity in terms of where they live and work. Access to online platforms is thus not a given for all.

Following the national lock-down in South Africa, the Department of Higher Education, Training and Research has officially given Higher Education and Training institutions that are solely registered for contact training on their longer courses, the go ahead to develop and launch training online. The College is rising to the challenge.

With regard to the further studies of the students enrolled in the 2020 Advanced Certificate in Nature Conservation: Trans-frontier Conservation Management, further training will be made available through the G Suite for Education platform using Google Classroom. The students were registered on Google Classroom in the beginning of the year through which they had to already submit some assignments online. The department is gearing to create online classrooms for all further modules outstanding on this platform for this certificate class in order to enable these students to finish their studies, with some revision of the modules they have already completed during the first semester.

The students that had to return to their home countries and workplaces can thus look forward to gaining access to online materials from mid-June 2020 to further their studies. The certificate will in all likelihood also be extended into 2021 to make up for the lost time during the first semester which was cut short in 2020 and to finish the second semester within a specified time frame. All students, regardless of their location will be given the best chance and necessary guidance to complete their studies.

The College has taken this decision as no specified timelines have currently being communicated by the South African government as to when contact training will be able commence in tertiary institutions. In addition, no indication of when borders would open for students to travel to the campus to attend classes has been provided.

To mitigate this uncertainty, the College will release the relevant information to all the student employers by 22 May 2020. We look forward to working further with all our students to ensure that they finish the Natural resource management programmes they have enrolled on; and that are able to qualify within the revised calendar period that will also be made available before the end of May 2020.

Our year-long students from across the region had been with us for two months before they had to return to their home countries due to the Covid-19 Higher Education and Training and lockdown regulations. They will now continue their studies and work integrated learning assignments from there until they are able to return to the College.

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