The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 - which continues to plague the world today -inspired two primary mandates across the Honoris United Universities network: People Care and Continuation of studies.

Across the African continent, Honoris faculty, staff, students, and communities have brought these mandates to life by responding to the accelerating health crisis with care and with urgency.

Jonathan Louw, CEO of Honoris

“The ability for Honoris institutions to continue teaching almost without interruption throughout the crisis has enabled the network to mobilize some of its best and brightest brains in trying to find solutions to ensure care of our people and continuation of studies.”

Jonathan Louw


The digital infrastructure for distance learning has always been a focus for Honoris’ institutions as it relates to their goal of widening access to education as far as possible.

When COVID-19 necessitated the closure of physical campuses across the continent, Honoris was able to swiftly reroute all 47,000+ students (number of students at that time) within the network to digital learning. This transition constituted a significant advantage in most institutions. The successful digitization of the academic experience led to an improvement in student performance and student retention across the network.

The inclusivity agenda for Honoris necessitated a digital transformation across the platform, and is being achieved through the provision of hybrid, on-site, and digital models which are widening access to education. As much as a global pandemic proved that formal education is not confined to physical parameters, it also highlighted the current digital divide which also encroaches on the issue of inclusivity. Furthermore, a critical pillar for economic development is building capacity across education institutes. In view of this, the economic challenges that Africa faces necessitate investment in higher education staff training, in order to keep up with the accelerated pace of digitalization and digitization in the work place.

Honoris remains committed to solving challenges such as these, so that more future leaders can be reached and experience greater economic freedom. In terms of current capacity, all Honoris teams have demonstrated impressive resilience in switching to remote learning and working, continuously adapting to the national directives and implementing safety protocols. Today, all 14 institutions switch between modes of instruction with high agility and fluidity.

Unity in intention and action, especially in turbulent times, will lead to the best possible outcome.

Key highlights and achievements across the Honoris network include:

  • +47,000 students studying remotely
  • +3,500 staff and faculty working remotely
  • +20,000 students’ virtual graduation
  • Continuous care, support and engagement with employees
  • 100% enrollment target reached
  • Reaching more students in all countries
  • Increasing access to learning opportunities
  • Over $1 million US Dollars contribution through donation and solidarity initiatives, providing:
    • Access to education
    • Mental health
    • SMMEs support
    • Food and medical donations


Through continuous engagement and innovation, the Honoris institutions provided support to students, staff, and communities across the network’s reach. Each institution upheld the mandates of people care and continuation of studies, and also undertook solidarity initiatives in order to ease the strain of the pandemic. Honoris proudly presents its institutions’ efforts in these areas.


  • Remote learning:
    • Learning was enabled through Microsoft Teams and further benefit was derived from REGENT and MANCOSA platforms
  • Virtual Open Day:
    • Saw the participation of 40 live attendees and 44 online visitors
  • Social Media Campaign:
    • Three blog posts on time management, mental health (5 Hacks on Maintaining Your Mental Health during COVID-19 Confinement) and remote learning (Overcoming the Challenges of Virtual Learning) were published
  • Remote learning:
    • MUNDIAPOLIS: e-Mundiapolis platform, was made available from 16 March 2020 with more than 200 attendees participating in a virtual open day on 23 May 2020
    • EMSI: Switched to Microsoft Teams from 19 March 2020
    • EAC: Switched to Google Suite from 19 March 2020
  • Social Media Campaign:
    • A social media campaign was launched to engage the community and attract new students. The campaign highlighted study tips for examinations and general guidance along the academic path
  • People care:
    • Weekly video conference calls with staff to keep them updated on any developments and to maintain a pathway of communication. Staff salaries were maintained at 100% due to managing cost by encouraging leave during the lockdown
  • Remote learning:
    • Learning enabled through Zoom and Google Classroom with a total of 742 virtual classes were held per week
  • Social Media Campaign:
    • Social media posts provided advice and continuous guidance to support and engage with students during remote learning
  • Guidance counseling unit:
    • A counselling team made available to provide support to students to help them get the most out of the distance learning experience through Zoom and WhatsApp appointments
  • Webinar Series:
    • Over 20 webinars during the lockdown to improve behavioral skills (Leadership, Time Management, Transferable Skills & Employability) and to address different topics (Dealing with Coronavirus: Digital First Perspective, The Feminist economics of COVID-19)
    • Remote learning:
    • All students transitioned to an online portal, “MANCOSA connect”, which allowed students to have access to webinars, tutorials, tutors as well as an online library
    • Additional student support services were also introduced where students could communicate with tutors and submit their online assessments
    • IT Support and projects:
    • IT support was extended to respond to queries
  • People care:
    • MANCOSA Companion Colleague: A buddy system for staff - pairing colleagues that check in with each other on a daily basis, promoting the philosophy of “each one helps one”
    • MANCOSA Counselling Services: Free counselling services provided through Zoom, WhatsApp, or telephone for MANCOSA students
    • Mental health events for staff: A calendar of staff initiatives was introduced, such as “Tea with Elizabeth” which was an informal session that allowed staff to access a counsellor openly and discuss any concerns related to wellness and mental health. Posture and ergonomics sessions were organized with a registered Biokineticist to provide employees with work from home posture tips
  • Remote learning and Innovation:
    • Online learning portal “MyREGENT”: Students were given access to webinars, tutorials, podcasts and a host of pre-recorded videos done by faculty. Students also had free access to online academic resources that they could use to enhance their studies
    • Enhanced student support via WhatsApp Bot: A quick-response program was designed to deliver instant assistance by providing answers to FAQs. The Bot had a total of 2,480 interactions from 12 March to 14 April 2020
    • Virtual graduation: RBS was the first Honoris institution to organize a virtual graduation, which had over 1,513 attendees
    • Digital library: The "Digital Commons @REGENT” Library allows students to remotely access over 300,000 books, online databases, and journals. Lecturers also used the IT infrastructure of the facility to conduct webinars with students during the COVID-19 Lockdown
  • People care:
    • Lockdown Counseling Videos: James Sturdee, a psychological counselor at RBS provided students with health and wellness support during their time at home
    • Lockdown Staff support: A weekly Lockdown Newsletter was published for staff and was accompanied with a series of videos on wellness
  • Remote team building:
    • Conversation cafés: an online platform where staff teams shared their experiences of working remotely
    • Virtual team building: where teams worked together to develop a plan on teamwork appreciation, behavior, beliefs, cohesion, and collaboration
  • Remote learning:
    • Remote learning was enabled through Microsoft Teams and the “MyU" proprietary platform
  • Faculty Training:
    • 575 teachers were trained on the MyU platform and various technological solutions were deployed to ensure the transition to remote teaching
  • Student engagement campaign:
    • Animations were produced to provide advice and guidance to support and engage with students during remote learning with an average reach of 200,000 people per post
  • Webinars:
    • A webinar on the following themes:
      • How to handle COVID for companies
      • “The Super Confined” webinar, dedicated to women with over 1,000 views in total (live and recorded)
  • People care:
    • Work-from-home contests for employees to keep the motivation and human interaction between colleagues


  • Solidarity through financial aid:
    • A contribution of 1,8 million MAD was made to the National Moroccan government fund to fight the COVID-19 crisis which included matching employees’ contributions
  • Solidarity through innovation:
    • EMSI co-organized a virtual hackathon MAROCOVID19 to encourage students to come up with innovative solutions to respond to the crisis. Three EMSI students' projects were selected to be incubated at Hack & Pitch and Start-up La Factory, which comprised:
      • A drone solution to help with medical screening in rural areas
      • A digital and intelligent respiratory system
      • An App enabling doctors to digitally issue prescriptions
  • Solidarity through mental health care:
    • In partnership with renowned Moroccan NGO Sourire de Reda (Youth Suicide Prevention), Honoris & Mundiapolis Health School published an e-book, “My Care”. It is a practical guide to help the youth to better deal with confinement and is distributed by Moroccan telecom operator, INWI
  • Solidarity for international students:
    • Housing in Mundiapolis residence was made available for international students and support was provided in obtaining authorizations for essential movement
  • Solidarity through food donation:
    • Food donations to Abuja communities during Ramadan
  • Food drive targeted at the disabled community of Karmajiji Village, Abuja
      The event was organized by the Nile Business Club, Muslim Students Society, Alumni Relations Department, and Touch Life Club
  • Charity visit to Kuje prison, Abuja, to donate food to the prisoners
    • The event was organized by the Charity Club
  • Solidarity through supporting education access and professionals by MANCOSA School of Education (SoE):
    • Remote stories for kids, in partnership with renowned story teller Dr Gcina Mlhophe, were made available to captivate children during the lockdown and reached a total of 199,400 children
    • Remote Teaching Series:
    • In partnership with online teaching experts, help was provided to educators to upskill themselves and make a smooth transition from the classroom to online teaching, reaching a total of 35,700 teachers.
  • Solidarity through supporting small businesses:
    • In partnership with the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the SMME Business Rescue Series, five experts were sourced to discuss issues related to tax, relief funding, industrial psychology, cash flow, as well as health and safety practices at the workplace; this initiative reached a total of 54,100 business owners.
  • Solidarity through medical and food donation:
    • Over 5,000 PPE packs were donated to hospitals and clinics, containing a face shield and a mask. In partnership with Uplifting Humanity, over 7,000 food parcels were purchased for distribution in Gauteng.
  • Solidarity through medical donation:
    • RBS’ iLeadLABS in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town led the production of face shields and splash protection masks using 3D-printed parts. Masks and shields were distributed at no cost to 7,000 healthcare workers across South Africa’s nine provinces. Nine state-owned hospitals in South Africa as well as several NGO’s and relief organisations expressed their heartfelt gratitude and appreciation after receiving the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
  • Tips for Remote working:
    • In partnership with Vodacom, an e-book was produced with helpful tips to assist students to study at home, reaching a total of 4,409 students.
  • Data-free use of websites:
    • Following an agreement brokered with Cell C and MTN, students were able to access videos, tutorials, and other digital teaching tools for free
  • Solidarity through innovation:
    • A team of scientists, doctors, engineers, and students led by Prof. Nidhal Rezg (Dean of Polytech) developed a non-invasive and affordable 3D-printed respirator in partnership with DITEX (which brings together the expertise of Dassault Systems, Université de Lorraine and industrial engineering company TECH-3D)
  • Solidarity through financial aid:
    • A donation of PPE worth 200K TND was made to partner hospital Charles Nicolle, one of the most reputable hospitals in Tunisia and the recipient of UC’s interns
  • Laptop repair:
    • Free Laptop repair was made available for 100 students and employees in partnership with TrustIT (a start-up supported by a UC initiative promoting entrepreneurship)
  • Solidarity for international students:
    • A traditional Ramadan Iftar Dinner was delivered with a virtual celebration; also, groceries were provided for 300 international students during lockdown