Chaos at Unisa registration as students demand answers

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Goitsemang  Tlhabye

University of South Africa (Unisa) management have urged patience and understanding, saying work towards resolving course accreditation woes and learner material issues were already underway.

This is after Unisa’s first day of registrations was derailed by student organisations earlier today.

Hundreds if not thousands of prospective students could be seen loitering around the university’s Sunnyside campus looking for answers.

Wadzanani Mazhetese, Unisa National SRC President, said many students had been crying following the exclusion of approximately 120 000 students because of a chaotic system that  is unable to cater for them.

Mazhetese said to add on to the plethora of issues facing the university they also had courses that the university had closed since Friday even though students were offered those qualifications.

He said they had spoken to university management that they could not be rejected by the country’s largest distance learning university.

“Unisa can’t behave like a contact institution. Nowhere can students be rejected by distance learning institutions.”

Mazhetese admitted that some of the issues such as the need for a call centre, had been raised repeatedly with university management but to no avail.

He said considering how Unisa dealt with over 400 000 students, it made no sense for students to be unable to reach the university to help deal with registration issues.

“The lack of a call centre results in students having to flock in their numbers from far away places during registration because they struggle with the online system and there is no one to help them.”

Unisa spokesperson, Martin Ramotshela, said the university management were aware of the strike and some of the issues raised by the student organisations.

Ramotshela confirmed that a meeting with student leaders had been arranged for later on today to find an amicable way forward regarding the issues.

He said some of the issues such as the demand for laptops was tabled and resolved before the university closed last year.

Council had gone even further by assisting students to acquire laptops through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas).

Most of which would be arriving before the academic year began, Ramotshela said.

However, he said student demands had escalated as they were now asking for laptops and textbooks to be provided, a matter Ramotshela said was to be dealt with by Nsfas.

With regard to issues of decommissioned courses, Ramotshela said an error was made.

“We made the mistake of loading some programmes on the system which had not been accredited yet. But the university management has since intervened and had engagements with the Council of Higher Education and the South African Qualifications Authority (Saqa).”

“We can, however, confirm that some of the qualifications have been re-accredited with offers made to students and the remaining courses once re-accredited information will be provided to students.”

Pretoria News

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