The principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Africa (UNISA) Professor Puleng Lenkabula says the institution is finalising its registration process for the 2021 academic year.
The process was delayed after Higher Education Minister Blade Ndzimande ordered a decrease in first-year students’ intake and a change in semester arrangements.
The High Court in Pretoria recently dismissed and set aside Ndzimande’s decision that would have compelled the university to reduce its first-year intake by about 20 000 students. Lenkubula says preparations are in place for this year’s academic year.
“Yes, we are in the process of finalising the registration, especially for the undergraduate students. Those who are doing their research in doctoral and masters areas are continuing as they would be in the laboratory or research areas or virtually. So in this instance, we would start after the 26 of March – the teaching and learning – as been directed by the Department of Higher Education and Training requesting us to extend the registration period.”
The judgment also set aside UNISA’s decision to have one semester for the 2021 academic year. The ruling means that UNISA is forced to revert back to two-semesters per year and to admit at least 57 000 first-year students.
The decision was successfully challenged in court by the EFF, SA Human Rights Commission and the Black Lawyers Association Student Chapter.
Lenkubula says UNISA respects the law. “We, therefore, take into consideration the law and we abide by it and the higher education act. The statute of the university including directives such as being profiled. It is important however to state that even if the students who challenged the 20 000 students issue, the university has always been to accessing students not being an obstacle to black students accessing education.”
Court sets aside Minister Blade Nzimande’s instruction to UNISA to reduce first-year students’ intake:
EFF Student Council’s National President, Mandla Shikwambana said the EFF Student Command will always be available to represent citizens and all students.”
“We are happy that the court ruled in our favour, but not only did they rule in favour of Students Command but they ruled in the favour of the 20 000 students who were about to be denied education in the academic year. The EFF Students Command will always be there and available to represent all citizens and all the students with their issues with regard to academic issues and also we want to welcome the decision of the High Court on the semester approach, not to have this academic year a one year semester.”
UNISA student structures welcome court judgment regarding first-year intake: