First year capacity stretched

2011-01-12 00:00

WHILE the minister of Higher Education and Training has promised increased opportunities at tertiary level to accommodate the unexpectedly large number of matriculants who passed with university or technikon entry, it does not appear that local universities have the capacity to accommodate these students.

Long queues, excitement, the uncertainty of making the right career choice, as well as the stress of whether they’ll be accepted, are some of the mixed emotions first time applicants looking for entrance to tertiary institutions are grappling with.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Durban University of Technology (DUT) are currently processing the applications of students who failed to apply in the 2010 academic year.

While registration is expected to take place from Monday at UKZN, courses in medicine, engineering, education, health sciences, social work and architecture have already closed and will not be considering further applications.

Nomonde Mbadi, executive director of corporate relations, said UKZN has received applications from a total of 59 858 students, but will enrol around 9 000 new first year students for the 2011 academic year.

According to Mbadi, the university’s infrastructure, resour­ces and facilities currently accommodate 40 000 students across five campuses.

The late applicants will be accepted in the disciplines where spaces are still available once timely applications have been processed.

“Registration takes place between January 17 and February 4. Some faculties offer the self-help or online registration system. These students have the option of registering online from remote locations off campus and at designated computer LANs on campus.

“Students will also be registered through the manual registration process, which takes place at designated venues on designated dates,” said Mbadi.

When The Witness paid the university a visit to interview the tertiary hopefuls, the queues were orderly and well managed.

Instead of queues snaking their way through the corridors, organisers have used a big venue to accommodate applicants at different stations for the different stages of application.

Meanwhile, pre-registration at the DUT began at a smooth pace, the university has said.

DUT spokesperson Professor Nqabomzi Gawe said 56 754 applications for 2011 have been received from the Central Applications Office.

However, she said DUT will not enrol students once their capacity target, which is 7 000 first year students, has been met.

She said this had been approved by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Registration at DUT also commences on Monday.

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