Universities South Africa members agree to a 'more flexible approach' to walk-ins

Johannesburg – Universities South Africa (USAf) said on Wednesday that its 26 member universities have agreed to a more flexible approach for walk-in applications for the 2018 academic year.

The body announced last week that universities would not be accepting any walk-in applications, following calls by EFF leader Julius Malema and the EFF Students Command for prospective students to show up at universities and apply for their courses of choice.

This came after President Jacob Zuma’s controversial fee-free tertiary education announcement in December.

USAf said on Wednesday that, following a meeting earlier in the week, the organisation and member universities would be more accommodating of walk-in applications.

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"In light of the broadly positive feedback received about the orderly manner in which registrations were progressing, it was decided that a more flexible approach would be adopted to address the question of walk-ins so as to ensure a successful registration period," USAf’s head of communications, Mateboho Green, said.

Green said universities that have places for certain programmes will assist walk-in applications where there is a match between the prospective student’s chosen field of study and the vacancy.

However, if there are no vacancies, universities would have to assist students to access the Department of Higher Education and Training’s Central Application Clearing House (CACH) system.

"To the extent possible, each university will provide information on academic programmes that can still accept new students. Each university will make its position known to the prospective students and to the public at large through various forms of communication," Green said.

On Wednesday morning, while on a walkabout at the University of Johannesburg’s Auckland Park campus, Deputy Higher Education and Training Minister Buti Manamela said the department strongly discouraged walk-ins, but said he could understand students’ anxiety.

"If students appear here, walk-in, do serve them and we are quite happy with what the University of Johannesburg has done with regards to the walk-ins," Manamela said.

He was referring to a tent which had been set up by the university in its parking area to assist students with queries and late applications.

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