Department puts foot down on slack students

2013-12-04 13:56

About 40% of all students at further education and training (FET) colleges across the country are always absent from or late for class.

And now the higher education department is putting its foot down.

Addressing the media in Pretoria today, higher education director-general Gwebinkundla Qonde said from next year all colleges will have to implement the attendance and punctuality policy. The policy, he said, will ensure all students attend classes and are punctual all the time.

“Punctuality and attendance in the system is worrying. Its quite substantial, it’s about 40%, which is why we are confronting it. Some students just register and disappear, they come every month to collect their transport and accommodation subsidies from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme [NFSAS] and then disappear again.”

Retention, he said, was also a problem. “A lot of students register and then fall by the wayside.”

From next month all students will have to sign a code of conduct, he said. “They will be monitored very strictly. We will check if people have come to school and if they are attending all their classes. If they are not in class and are always late, their NFSAS bursaries will be cancelled. It’s either we pay for you and you are in class or you are out.”

Qonde said some lecturers have also taken advantage of the system. “We have shown them the door. Some are serving suspensions,” he said, adding that they were a small number.

According to the policy, a lecturer will issue a formal warning if a student’s attendance is not satisfactory. If a student’s poor attendance continues, a disciplinary hearing or an “absence review” meeting may follow.

Failure to improve will lead to expulsion.

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