Full universities close the gates

2014-01-09 00:00

DUE to a flood of applications universities are forced to turn away more than half of the hopefuls and one has banned walk-ins during registration.

A surge in the number of matrics in the province who obtained university passes — 47 202 bachelor passes compared to the 34 779 in 2012 — saw a bigger demand for entry into university this year.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), University of Zululand (UniZulu) and Unisa said they’re full to capacity, and are at the point where they can’t entertain any late applications. UniZulu has gone so far as to ban all walk-ins on campus during registration.

Combined, these institutions have received 297 838 applications, but only 102 510 can be accommodated.

The KZN Education Department announced an upswing in the matric pass rate of 77,4% in 2013 of the 145 278 candidates sat for their exams last year — up from 73,1% in 2012.

The Witness spoke to students who indicated that their dreams were to study at the university this year after attaining several distinctions.

But the universities painted a gloomy picture with their statistics.

University of Zululand (UniZulu) director of communications and marketing Normah Zondo, said they will not be accepting any late applications at this stage. She said they will know after the registration of first-year students is finalised on January 24 if any places had not been taken up.

UniZulu received 70 538 applications for this year, but can only accommodate 3 900.

The most popular tertiary qualification is in education, which received 34 676 applications, followed by social work with 23 993 and nursing science with 7 585 applications.

“Prospective students had the whole year in 2013 to make a decision about the course or career path they want to pursue. No applications are accepted at this late stage and walk-ins are not allowed on campus during registration,” she added.

Meanwhile, UKZN has received more than 80 000 applications for the 8 400 available spaces in their undergraduate programmes.

UKZN spokesperson Nomonde Mbadi said admission is therefore highly competitive.

The Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine receives an average of 8 300 applications for the 210 available positions for first years.

UKZN’s registration has already started and Mbadi said some places could free up after accepted students have made their final choice. “Applicants with excellent Grade 12 results may be considered until January 11 for qualifications where spaces are available. But no places are guaranteed,” Mbadi warned.

Unisa spokesperson Martin Ramotshela said no new applications will be accepted during this period.

“Only students who applied and were admitted during the application phase, which closed in September 2013, are now eligible to register.

“The next application phase, for the second semester, opens from April 7 to 25, 2014,” said Ramotshela.

The institution had 139 000 number first-time applications from across the country, of which only 90 000 were admitted for registration this year. The open distance learning university said they were confident that the number of students accepted will be sufficiently serviced by both their teaching and support staff.

He said there is a possibility that those not accepted at mainstream universities could flock to Unisa.

“In future, enrolment planning will be central to our admissions policy and there could be a limitation on the number of students admitted for the respective qualifications.”

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