New exam dates have no room for riots

2016-10-06 13:26
Students look on at the Pietermaritzburg William O'Brien exam hall at the University of KwaZulu-Natal that was set alight recently during student protests.

Students look on at the Pietermaritzburg William O'Brien exam hall at the University of KwaZulu-Natal that was set alight recently during student protests. (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Disruptions to the academic programme at major universities in the province, due to the fees protests, have led to changes in their exam timetables.

With institutions like the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) losing about three weeks of their academic year due to forced shutdowns, many lecturers are scrambling to finish the semester before the year-end.

The Durban University of Technology (DUT), which was set to begin the 2016 final exams next Monday, has postponed proceedings for two weeks. The university is now set to start exams on October 24 and end on November 25.

DUT media officer Noxolo Memela said in an e-mail on Wednesday that despite an attempted disruption of classes by a group of about 30 students on the ML Sultan campus yesterday, the university had a successful resumption of the academic programme in Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Six protesters were arrested during the protest in Durban on Wednesday.

“The university has urged all staff and students to notify our campus protection team should they witness or have any knowledge of any criminal or suspicious behaviour or activity on campus or in residences,” Memela said.

The exam timetable at UKZN has, however, not been finalised.

It is believed a draft timetable has been drawn up, but it has yet to be approved by the university’s Senate.

UKZN vice-chancellor Albert van Jaarsveld said in an e-mail to students on Wednesday that the schedule of sessional dates for each academic year is planned, finalised and approved by the Senate several months before the start of the year, as it is a complex planning process with numerous considerations.

“Moving just one date in the academic calendar requires detailed planning and consultation, as it can have multiple knock-on effects on teaching, meeting DP requirements and setting of tests,” he said.

Since UKZN recently lost about three weeks of academic time during the student protests, Van Jaarsveld said the last Senate meeting had requested the registrar to constitute a task team to revise the sessional dates, which team has now produced a draft timetable, which will enable the completion of the current semester by pushing the main examination period back to be completed just before Christmas.

Supplementary examinations would be written in January. As a result, the 2017 academic year may start a few days later than originally planned. “Should any further academic time be lost, the entire 2016 examinations, and possibly teaching time, will have to be re-scheduled for 2017,” Van Jaarsveld warned.

Speaking to The Witness on Wednesday, UKZN student Zinhle Mahlangu said she hoped the university would arrive at a decision on exam dates soon, and communicate this to students so they could begin preparations. “As much as I am all for the fees cause, many students will not boycott their exams and want to finish their degrees.

“I understand the call to boycott in solidarity with the student leaders in prison, but the fact is the majority of students will not want the academic year to carry over into 2017. I hope it does not come to that,” she said.

Attempts to get comment from the SRC presidents in Durban and Pietermaritzburg were unsuccessful on Wednesday.

Read more on:    #feesmustfall  |  pietermaritzburg  |  student protests

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.

Inside News24

How much food do you need to concentrate?

We have been taught that we need three meals a day in order to make it through the day and while most of us indulge in more than our fair share there is a large portion of South Africans who are living off barely enough to sustain them.


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.