The University of the Western Cape (UWC) suspended classes on Wednesday so that problems over the registration of some students could be resolved, the institution said.
An official tweet said: “Dear campus community, the university’s executive has decided to postpone the academic programme to the end of this week. This will allow students, who have not registered yet, to complete the processes.
“We urge those who haven’t registered to do so before the end of the week.
“Normal university activities will continue, even though classes have been suspended. Academics will upload necessary content on the Ikamva student portal. Classes will resume on Monday and more information will be made available this week.”
In response to follow-up questions, spokesperson Gasant Abarder said qualifying National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students had already been cleared.
“Students with debt need to be cleared before they can register. This means that students with debt who failed cannot be registered.
“Students who are academically deserving need to speak to the Student Credit Management office and sign an acknowledgement of debt.
“A payment plan will then be arranged. But the University of the Western Cape will never turn away an academically deserving student because of student debt.
“We pride ourselves as an institution in terms of access to higher education and we will do what we can to assist. However, the SRC has demanded bulk or blanket clearances and registrations – even for indebted students who have failed.
“For the reasons mentioned above, clearances for registration need to happen on a case-by-case basis.”
It is not possible yet to say how many people are affected due to disruptions to these processes.
Universities around the country are on tenterhooks at the beginning of the academic year, as unresolved or new issues arise when doors open for registration.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal has been particularly hard hit, with a third building torched between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
GroundUp reported that the Student Representative Council of UWC, Daso-UWC [DA Students Organisation], and Sasco-UWC [SA Students Congress] had been leading protests on campus since Monday over problems with registration and accommodation.
About 200 students protested on Tuesday.
In a statement, on February 3, UWC invited applications for NSFAS funding for 2020.
– Students must have a confirmed place at the institution in the form of student number;
– The student must be a South African citizen in need of financial aid within the household income below R350,000 per year;
– Application forms need to be submitted for financial aid by closing date, 12 February 2020.
– No late applications will be accepted.