Protests halt registration at University of Limpopo

2019-01-15 17:13
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Registration at the University of Limpopo was halted on Tuesday after students embarked on a protest against the online system, which they say is "slow and disadvantageous to them".

The students, led by the South African Students Congress (Sasco), also demanded the scrapping of upfront registration payments for those registered with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

The university has received 55 000 online applications and 10 000 manual ones from first-entry students. Only 4 750 of them can be accommodated in 2019.

READ: 'We didn't turn our backs on students' – University of Limpopo on allegations of turning away students

Sasco spokesperson on the campus, Thabiso Makgosi, said the online system was failing to produce students’ application statuses, even when they had the necessary documents and met the required criteria.

"The system is slow and continues to disadvantage the students. The management must resort to manual registration to ease the situation," he said.

Call to be cleared to register

On upfront registration fees, Makgosi said: "The majority of the people who are here don’t have that amount of money to register. So, we are saying they must be automatically cleared to register."

Vice-Chancellor Kwena Masha told News24 that the online system was working and that "reverting to the manual system was not advisable at this stage".

He said various student structures had approached the management and were advised to raise the issues through the student representative council. 

"The meeting is underway and we are waiting for a report back on the issues raised for us to move forward," Masha said.

Allegation of no clear plan

The university was earlier accused by the EFF in Limpopo of lacking a clear plan for registration and walk-in applications. This was after the party claimed that hundreds of students had been turned away.

But this was denied by the deputy vice-chancellor for teaching and learning, Richard Madadzhe. He said walk-in applications would be attended to from January 17.

At the University of Venda, the management and the student representative council have agreed to scrap upfront payments of registration fees for students funded by NSFAS.

They also agreed that the missing middle/self-funded students would be exempt from paying upfront fees, but would be required to sign an acknowledgement of debt.

This was after the university experienced unprecedented violent protests by students in 2018 on the issue.

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Read more on:    university of limpopo  |  polokwane  |  education
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