Unisa is yet to respond to students’ frustration over an announcement that it would only have one semester this year.
This comes as Unisa issued a letter stating that they would be extending the registration period to March due to Covid-19.
The extension would result in the academic year only starting in April.
President of Unisa’s student representative council (NSRC) Wadzanai Mazhetese said a petition was currently launched to have the university reverse its decision.
“Since the lockdown in March last year, management has abused the restrictions to take decisions which are anti-student in nature such as closing access to administrative offices even when the restrictions allowed them to open.”
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He said further, students had to deal with a chaotic online examination system, refusals to grant Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) students final year concessions, de-semesterisation among other issues.
“The long semester is impractical for students, students must sit 10 exams in one sitting; it means many students won’t succeed and those on NSFAS would lose funding because of failure.”
Mazhetese said new students were also being inducted into an archaic academic culture of long semester when they had not acclimatised to the distance-learning environment.
“This long semester is setting them up for failure. Students are seriously disrupted into a fundamentally different system which poses excessive pressure on them.
“This decision has disrupted almost 90% of students simply on the misguided notion of accommodating about 10% of first-time entering students.”
He said many students faced socio-economic challenges, “students are struggling to access teaching and learning tools due to lack of internet access and devices”.
Mazhetese said currently, students had also handed over a petition to management, to have them revoke their decision.
“We have engaged management at all levels and they are unwilling to move on our core demands.”
Unisa has not yet responded to enquiries by Rekord after several attempts on the matter.
Unisa preciously said on their website the announcement arose from the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation and the Department of Higher Education’s letter on the over-enrolment of Unisa’s student numbers.
The executive committee of the council of Unisa decided on 2 January the academic year would commence in March 2021 to ensure that Unisa’s calendar aligns with the Post Education and Training Sector (PSET) with first-year registrations in March 2021.
“This has been necessitated by the announcement by the basic education minister that grade 12 results will only be released on 23 February 2021. Additionally, many universities will only be completing their academic year by March 2021.
“This will enable new students entering the university sector and those transferring from other institutions to enrol at Unisa.”
This article was republished from Rekord East with permission