Change the rules to suit the circumstances

2018-06-17 06:09

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Isn’t it time to revisit some of the rules that have been in place forever? After all, rules are there to be broken, or modified, according to circumstances. Let’s move with the times and be more flexible.

I was called by a distressed friend on Monday after she was refused entry to her exam at the University of SA in Pretoria. The reason? She and many others were late for the exam – by just four minutes.

Although the rule is clear that no late comers will be allowed into the exam rooms after the doors are closed, I find this strange and unacceptable in this day and age.

No one will be deliberately late for an exam, particularly after studying hard and sacrificing many things, only to risk being turned away at the door. It is heartbreaking and unforgivable.

There must be valid reasons for arriving late. I mean, there is a metro bus strike to consider. Most students do not have their own means of transport, so they rely on unreliable public transport. But, apparently, rules are rules.

Why can’t the powers that be devise other forms of punishment for latecomers? Allow them to write and if they don’t finish in time, it is their problem. After all, they would have dipped into their allocated time.

Do I hear someone saying that the late students will disturb those who had arrived on time? Not at all – have a special space at the back or somewhere for all latecomers so that they only disturb each other.

This reminded me of a former colleague who lost her job because, when she cashed up at the end of the day, she was short by a few rand. But when she was over by a few rand, it was fine. When I raised concerns about this, I was told that the company’s rules were clear. My argument was that the company could deduct the money from her salary, or rather deduct all the shortfalls from the surplus she was making for the month. But, again, I was told that rules are rules.

And those who set the rules are nowhere to be found when you demand answers. Instead, you are confronted by security guards who follow the law to the letter. If the rules state so, that’s how it will be, period. The security guards are not going to argue with you and you would waste your time and energy if you started an argument with them. However, we should not blame them as they are not the ones setting the rules; they just enforce them.

In a conversation we had the other day, someone implied that they would even turn away Orlando Pirates and Premier Soccer League chairperson Irvin Khoza from his own club’s game if he did not have a valid match ticket.

Their argument would be that the umlungu (boss) said that someone without a ticket may not be allowed entry, and if the boss said so, then that is how it would be, irrespective of who you are.

Back to my friend and many others who have to wait for another chance to write their exams – a long wait and stressful times await them. I say, let’s break the rules where we can. After all, rules are there to be broken.

Read more on:    education

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