Don't stop preparing for your Unisa Exams

Threats to shut down Unisa

We recently saw the Unisa SRC (Student Representative Council) reject the recommended fees increase by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Minister Blade Nzimande.

The Secretary General of the Unisa SRC, Buyisile Njokweni said they would wait for an announcement by the university council for a 0% increment. Any increase would see students taking to the streets.

More threats last week

Last week in Pretoria, EFF student command president Mpho Morolane said: "All we want is free quality education now. It must happen now and not be postponed." He was part of a group of protesting students who gave Unisa till the end of Monday to shut down and begin resolving the fees issue.

He said failure to close down the institution would see students returning and that “... hell will break loose”.

Protests around closed Unisa Exam Centres

Earlier last month in Durban we saw Unisa students threaten to shut down the University if Unisa does not immediately reopen 18 recently closed exam centres. Ten of these centres are in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

In June 40 students who arrived late for their exam, attacked students writing at an exam venue near the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The 40 students who arrived late, said it was because exam centres close to them have been shut down. The hundreds of attacked students then demanded to be allowed a rewrite because their exams were disrupted.

Can anyone shut down Unisa?

Since Unisa students are distance learning students, meaning they study from home, and not on a campus... I wonder... Can anyone shut Unisa down?

Unfortunately we saw in January this year that if property gets damaged and people's safety threatened, then the police will intervene, and an institution will shut down.

A shut down of a Unisa centre in the middle of the term, should not have a big impact on most students, because those students are studying at home. However, student studying at Unisa campuses and regional centres will be disrupted.

However, at registration and exam times students have to go to Unisa campuses and centres. So exams and registrations are easily disrupted.

Registrations can of course also be done online. But many students end up going to a Unisa centre for help with their registrations.

What happens if Unisa Exam Centres are shut down?

We saw what happened when Unisa closed exam centres earlier this year. Students disrupted exams. And students missed their fair opportunity to write their exams.

Unisa has over 600 exam centres locally and internationally. Inside South Africa Unisa has 390 exam venues. Unisa has students across the world writing exams in the next few weeks. What will happen if exam centres in Durban are shut down? Will the exams in Pretoria and London go ahead?

This is a lose-lose situation. If the exams go ahead in centres not affected, the students who are affected feel that it is unfair. If Unisa stop all the exams because some of the centres are affected, then all those students feel unfairly treated.

What happens when you cannot write a Unisa exam?

If you have a valid reason for missing an exam (e.g. an acceptable medical certificate), then you get an Aegrotat. An Aegrotat or Special Examination means that you get to write in the next exam session, in six months' time. With these exams you don't have to resubmit your assignments. You just write the exam in the next session. Usually you have to pay a small additional fee.

If you do not have a valid or accepted reason for missing your exam, you have to reregister for the subject, pay the whole fee (again), and redo the subject. Then you can write in the following exam session. Basically, if you miss it without a valid reason, you fail it.

So the answer is if you miss because of demonstrations try to get as much proof as you can, and apply to UNISA as quickly as possible to ensure your place at the following exam sitting.

What happens next? Registrations for 2017 in November...

We are a month and a half away from registrations for 2017. To register many student will need to go to Unisa campuses. And they will need their exam results. Many students worry that they cannot register for the next year, if they don't have their marks. As students wait for their results, which are released just as registration closes, this causes great anxiety for all students.

I will be writing advice for students who find themselves in this position, later in the year.

Don't give up!

You have worked hard and sacrificed a lot to study at Unisa. Most Unisa student are adult learners with full-time jobs. They have to work in the daytime, take care of family in the evening, and only get to study late at night and early in the morning.

If you have a Unisa student in the house, give them all your love and support.

If you are a Unisa student... never give up! You can make it.

About the Author

Tabitha Bailey is the Founder of TogetherWePass.

TogetherWePass provide online study groups for Unisa students, as well as for students at other Home Study Colleges.

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