A matter of Colour

There has been a lot of media attention in the past week about the University of Cape Town's new admission policy, but it seems that most people don’t even recognise how bad it really is.

At UCT two sets of marks determine your admission, your APS, which is your final matric mark out of 600 (life orientation is not taken into account) and your NBT, National Benchmark Test, which tests your efficiency in Literacy and Thinking Skills, and if required your Maths skills

Table 1:Requirements for probable admission to health science degrees at UCT 2012

MBChB

Minimum requirements for all

APS (out of 600)

% Ave

NBT (out of 300)

% Ave

TOTAL SCORE (out of 900)

% Ave

Black

Level 4 (50%) for: Mathematics plus Physical Sciences  plus English  PLUS a pass  in the next 3 best subjects excluding Life Orientation; AL: 42; QL: 38; Maths: 34

420

70.0%

114

38.0%

534

59.3%

Chinese

480

80.0%

180

60.0%

660

73.3%

Coloured

450

75.0%

128

42.7%

578

64.2%

Indian

500

83.3%

200

66.7%

700

77.8%

White & others

500

83.3%

200

66.7%

700

77.8%

What we see now is that in medicine the ratios determine that a whites and Indians (how the Indians are then not also classified as disadvantaged in this category when they are in the others, I cannot fathom) require78% minimum to qualify to enter into a medical degree and 83% average in matric, a black person on the other hand only requires 59% admittance and only 70% in matric

For Engineering your EBS mark is determined by EBS =  0.5 x APS% + 0.5x NBT% + 0.03 x % obtained in the Maths 3 paper in matric.

Table 2:Engineering and Built Environment

Programme

White and others ("Open")

Black, Indian, Coloured or Chinese ("Redress")


Normal

Normal

Extended degree

Architectural Studies

Offers for the limited places are made on a competitive basis taking into account Faculty equity targets

58 EBE APS Points; Mathematics or Physical Science = 50%; BAS Portfolio weighted 50%

Construction Studies

70 EBE APS Points; Mathematics = 65%; Physical Science = 55%

50 EBE APS Points; Mathematics = 65%; Physical Science = 55%

Engineering (all programmes)

75 EBE APS Points; Mathematics = 80%; Physical Science = 70%

65 EBE APS Points; Mathematics = 75%; Physical Science = 65%

55 EBE APS Points; Mathematics =75%; Physical Science = 60%

Geomatics

70 EBE APS Points; Mathematics = 75%; Physical Science = 65%

60 EBE APS Points; Mathematics = 70%; Physical Science = 60%

55 EBE APS Points; Mathematics =70%; Physical Science = 60%

Property studies

70 EBE APS Points; Mathematics = 65%

50 EBE APS Points; Mathematics =65%

These are by far the worst cases of discrimination: Construction Studies and Property Studies have a 20% difference between what whites and other races must obtain as a minimum to obtain entry.

In my opinion this puts everyone at a disadvantage; whites are unable to obtain the degrees they want even if they are a more deserving candidate while blacks who get in will be looked down upon as inferior. All the varsity is doing is sowing seeds for racial tension that will brew on campus as a result.

These policies have decided to predetermine what races are disadvantaged and gives blacks a complex where they believe they should have everything handed to them. What about poor whites who do not attend model C schools, why should they not get equal opportunities as the blacks to further their education, while black elites living in their posh homes in the suburbs and went to elitist private schools benefit.

I am all forgiving students a fair chance, but the emphasis is on FAIR. In stead of determining these factors on race, the university should look at the social and economic status of the learner. In addition these students should not be accepted straight into the degree. Minimum standards are there for a reason, South Africa’s degrees are already looked down upon, resulting in the fact that were quire honours to be on par with a foreign degree. Instead they should be admitted to the extended degree programs where there first year is spread out over two years allowing for added support for these learners and improving their chances of achievement. In this way we give those from a real disadvantaged background a chance to study without disadvantaging students who have obtained the required marks and are thus equally deserving of a place,surly the varsity has no right to give others an opportunity buy taking it away from another.

Further more,it is my belief that no university should accept students straight into a medical program, because lets be honest, our matric certificates are a worthless indicator as to our abilities. Instead students wishing to do medicine should register for a degree in some field in Biological Sciences and then at then apply in that year to transfer to medicine, the varsity can then see after a year who would be able to cope with the course. Blacks would then be required to get the same minimum to qualify as whites as they would have now received the required support.

In conclusion I feel that it is time that some blacks in this country realise that they don’t have rights at the expense of others.

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