UKZN to drop small courses

2013-09-05 00:00

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal could close over 700 modules, with the College of Humanities likely to carry the brunt of the closures.

According to a confidential document circulated to the institution’s senate and senior managerial staff, and seen by The Witness, the most heavily affected faculty will be the College of Humanities, which includes the schools of arts, religion, education, social sciences and built environment.

The least affected will be the School of Health Sciences.

Tabled before the senate last month, the documented is headed “Developing UKZN Module Minimum Enrolment Norms” and drafted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching & Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, it forms part of a wider internal research project where each module was assessed on its enrolment performance between 2009 and 2013.

The arts department will lose the most — 279 modules. The biggest loser in the department will be music, with 110 modules, while Afrikaans will be decimated by 25 with just one module, called Afrikaans for Beginners, surviving.

Surprisingly, 28 Zulu modules are also likely to get the boot, despite the institution gearing towards making Zulu compulsory in 2014.

Other courses affected are Spanish, German, visual arts, drama, and translation studies, Latin, ancient history, Hebrew, maths and science education, architecture and sociology.

The document said “Humanities has by far the largest number of modules” being offered (1 384 or 42% of all UKZN modules) and the largest number (452) being offered below the proposed minimum enrolment norms, which constitutes 61% of the 744 affected modules below the proposed norms.

“The proposed norms impact Honours and PG diplomas programmes the most in all colleges except CHS, which is impacted mostly in Masters level modules,” it said.

The university has urged the various schools to set their minimum benchmark above the minimum requirement.

According to the document, the total number of modules with fewer than five students “constitutes 15% of all modules in 2013; and has increased by 15 from 2012 to 482 in 2013”.

The document said Honours modules account for the largest number of modules with fewer than five student enrolment at 164 or 34% in 2013, with the College of Humanities “having the largest number of modules with [fewer] than five students accounting for 276 or 57% of all modules with enrolments”.

It is followed by the College of Law and Management Studies with 21% or 99 modules.

There has been an increase in modules with fewer than five students in levels 2,3 and 4 from 2012 to 2013, but the document acknowledged that Masters modules with fewer than five students decreased by 34 (28%) from 122 in 2012 to 88 in 2013.

According to a language lecturer who asked not to be named, they have been asked to motivate to the humanities deputy vice chancellor and the dean of the school of arts why their respective languages must be kept.

“Students already in the various modules will be allowed to finish their studies, but the courses will not be put on the prospectus for next year,” said the lecturer.

Alana Bailey, Deputy CEO of AfriForum responsible for language and international liaison, said while they would regret Afrikaans being shelved at UKZN, it was concerning that subjects on such a large scale were being rationalised.

The university was asked for a comment by midday yesterday, but was unable to respond at the time of going to press.

The proposed minimum enrolments per module needed in order for the module to remain operational are:

•Year/level 1 - 40 students

•Year/level 2 – 20 students

•Year/level 3 – 10 students

•In Year/Level Four, Honours, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters, the minimum requirement is five students.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.