UFS ready for 2018

2018-01-24 06:02
Prof. Francis Petersen, vice-chancellor and rector of the University of the Free State. Photo: Dan Xangaza

Prof. Francis Petersen, vice-chancellor and rector of the University of the Free State. Photo: Dan Xangaza

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Prof. Francis Petersen, vice-chancellor and rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), is confident the registration of students will go ahead as planned.

He briefed the media on Friday (19/01) on the university’s readiness for the 2018 academic year, saying plans were afoot for the registration of students at the campus of the university in Bloemfontein, as well as in Qwaqwa in the Eastern Free State.

Petersen said this was in anticipation of a huge number of potential students wanting to further their studies following Pres. Jacob Zuma’s announcement that government would subsidise free higher education for poor and working-class students.

Zuma made the short notice in a statement on 16 December, defining poor and working-class students as “currently enrolled TVET Colleges or university students from South African households with a combined annual income of up to R350 000”.

The announcement also came in the wake of the Fees Must Fall movement by students lamenting the high costs of studying at universities as hindering their ambition.

Petersen says the UFS is expected to take in about 8 000 first-year students for the 2018 academic year.

“On the back of the announcement there were a lot of students who came to the university when it opened. During our engagement with political role-players like the EFF, we did indicate our enrolment target is about 8 000 first-year students. We cannot exceed that target, because we won’t get subsidies. We will strengthen communication of that,” said Petersen.

The university’s registration opened on 8 January with online registration for all students, for both first-year and returning students.

Petersen said walk-in prospective first-year students who did not apply in 2017 to study at the UFS, but qualify for the university’s admission requirements, would be assisted to apply online on the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa campuses for programmes for which there is space available.

He said he did not anticipate that walk-in registration would pose a threat.

“Walk-in registration has been part of history at universities and as such I do not anticipate any difficulty.

“We are handling aspects well so far.”

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