Education body to study admissions policy

2012-01-11 23:03

Johannesburg - Higher Education SA (Hesa) would look at the admissions practices of its 23 member institutions, but believed there were too many eligible students for the number of places available, it said on Wednesday.

"This is largely due to the fact that there aren't sufficient post-school options available to school leavers eligible for further studies," Hesa said.

Gloria Sekwena died in a stampede at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday morning when she was accompanying her son Joseph to apply for a place.

Twenty people were injured.

Hesa said many school leavers chose university because there were limited other post-school options in the country's education and training system.

"This growing demand has severely stretched the current capacities of our public universities."

It pledged support to any initiative aimed at providing better study opportunities for school leavers and believed not all school leavers could be accommodated within the present public higher education sector.

The country needed a post-school training system which should include teacher education colleges, Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, agricultural colleges, nursing colleges and universities.

It called for all sectors of society to come up with constructive solutions to the admission problem, which had reached "alarming proportions".

The Azanian Students' Congress said the problem was not "late application syndrome", but an insufficient number of institutions of higher learning.

"White" universities such as Rhodes also set higher entrance requirements, making students turn to alternatives such as UJ, Azasco president Rabelani Muthige said in a statement.

Azasco charged that UJ just wanted the application fees it was charging prospective pupils and could have taken precautions during the application process.

"But UJ instead allowed their greed for tens of thousands of application fees [non-refundable] to dictate their approach, which resulted in disregard for black life."

The ANC Women's League encouraged pupils to apply to universities early to prevent chaos, and for the universities to process applications quickly.

"This incident highlights the desperation of our youth to get an education in order to get a decent job and lift themselves out of their current situations," the league said.

"We would like to encourage these young people not to give up yet, there are still other options available to them. Should they not get in through this application process, they should try again in the next semester."

Meanwhile, UJ said it would pay the tuition fees of Sekwena's son.

"Although nothing can replace the 19-year-old prospective student's mother, UJ has offered to waive tuition for his choice of study at UJ, should he adhere to the programme choice's admission criteria," registrar Professor Marie Muller said.

  • Max - 2012-01-12 05:40

    So Hesa is saying what the country needs is exactly what the country had before the ANC fiddeled with the higher education system, two things we can learn from this, don't break it when its working and the more things change the more they stay the same.

  • Twolips - 2012-01-12 06:13

    It took the death of a mother for HESA to realise this? We've all shouted out at the insanity of closing those places of learning, but nobody listened. It'll take years to re-open the colleges and equip them again. Time and money wasted once again.

  • Jacqui - 2012-01-12 06:19

    University education is not all its cracked up to be in SA in any event. We have a 17% throughout rate at universities - i.e. only 17% of an intake actually completes the course. More career guidance should be given at school and other options such as distance education or private higher institutions should be considered (and supported, in my view).

  • Patrick - 2012-01-12 07:10

    todays kids dont want college as they could get into university with 30% pass in all subject.

      Barbara - 2012-01-13 17:14

      that is so true and then they fail first year after 3 examination attempts and then they query why they failed.

  • NrGx - 2012-01-12 09:01

    perhaps if they didnt lower the pass mark to 30%, these idiots (who get about 30%) wouldnt qualify for uni. But no, lets lower the standards and close some intstitutions, that will make it it better. A few years down the line, its not our fault and society must come up with "constructive solutions". These morons that make decisions like these are the ones that probably have NO qualifications anyway, but are entrusted to make the decisions that effect our future professionals.

  • TheWatcher - 2012-01-12 09:05

    So what makes Rhodes a 'white' university?

  • Willie - 2012-01-12 09:30

    Trust Azasco to turn to the racist element. We need serious people to do some serious planning on Education and the way foward NOT people who is not serious about Education in RSA. We don't need people who keep on looking at the challenges and NOT providing solutions. What is the use of Azasco in the Education system?

  • bernpm - 2012-01-12 13:50

    Processing 50.000 applications with 100 staff @ 12 minutes per application will take (50.000X12)/100 = 6000 minutes or 100 elapsed hours) at a 48 hours work week a little over two weeks for 100 staff members. Even crowd control is not a solution!! Solution? 1. Applications on line or remote (use Computicket infrastructure?) 2. all first year students on correspondence (with predetermined pass rates)in subjects at their choice, payment per lesson submitted for marking. 3. fail or incomplete? drop application, allow for re-apply later 4. pass? accept for entry to university in chosen subjects 5. re-open the previously closed facilities or colleges for specialised further education.

  • Barbara - 2012-01-13 17:13

    i do not support a central application system because again how are we assured that our applications will be forwarded to all universities, do we have to bribe officials to send on, I prefer to apply myself, do not trust anything the Minister of Education does or says!

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