UKZN extends academic programme for 2016

2016-11-02 06:00

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal recently announced an extension to the academic programme for 2016 with examinations now scheduled to take place from Wednesday, 30 November and end in mid-December. Supplementary examinations will take place in January 2017.

“Following the loss of valuable teaching and learning time experienced by the university due to the suspension and disruption of classes during the recent student protests, Senate resolved to adjust the 2016 sessional dates to ensure successful completion of the current academic year,” read a notice issued by the office of the registrar at UKZN. The ongoing protests have caused, as expected, a delay of the overall schedules of many programmes.

“In the interest of ensuring that the 2016 academic programme is fully completed and that students receive the full benefit of the academic year, a special task team was set up to propose a workable catch-up programme, that will enable students to complete all lectures, tutorials, tests and seminars before the end of 2016. After­ considering various possibilities, the team proposed that the only feasible option is to adjust the 2016 sessional dates and to extend the semester,” said Lesiba Seshoka, executive director of corporate relations at UKZN.

The UKZN academic year has therefore been extended by about four weeks to ensure the year is complete by the end of 2016 so as to not cause too many delays with the incoming 2017 year.

Speaking to Maritzburg Fever, a lecturer at UKZN, who requested to remain anonymous, said that besides the obvious concerns for students such as having to find additional funding for accommodation for an extra two months, visas expiring for international students and not being able to take up internships in December and January, there are a number of implications for the lecturing staff as well.

“Because exams and supplementary exams have been pushed so far into the year, lecturers and administration staff are essentially not able to take any time off. Supps are expected to begin early in January, with those results coming out a few days before registration begins.

“Essentially, this means that the time lecturers usually spend in January preparing for lectures and conducting research, which is used as a performance measure, will be spent marking exams.

“The lecturer said staff and lecturers, who have booked time off, some as early as January this year, or who have research commitments such as attending conferences early next, have been told they have to cancel in order to ensure that results come out. There has been very little communication with staff in relation to the impact­ that pushing exams later will have on their teaching or well-being, and most staff feel quite demoralised by the whole situation.”

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