Scores of students flock to University of Johannesburg to secure space

2019-01-07 18:47
University of Johannesburg.

University of Johannesburg.

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By 07:00, a queue of would-be first-year students at the University of Johannesburg's (UJ) Kingsway campus was already snaking outside the registration premises.

Scores of mostly first-time university students, accompanied by parents, guardians and siblings, waited to receive confirmation of whether or not they had been accepted to study at the institution.

Among them were two friends, Khotso Mokhethi and Teboho Monamodi, both 18. The two Sharpeville teenagers arrived at the institution by minibus taxi to secure their spots. Smiling and drinking a soft drink, they vowed to make their parents happy by being the first in their families to obtain tertiary qualifications.

The two told News24 that they pinned their hopes on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to help them achieve their dreams. Khotso is raised by an unemployed mother while his friend lives with his grandmother.

Khotso applied to study Biochemical Technology and Teboho wants to study Computer Science and Mathematics.

Khotso obtained distinctions in Physical Science, Life Science and Life Orientation and Teboho achieved a distinction in Mathematics.

"We left our homes early in the morning to be here. We are hoping for good news that we have been accepted to study here at UJ. I have not applied for funding because my mother struggled to obtain relevant documents that were needed.

"It was a hustle for me to apply because I didn't have funds to access the internet," Khotso said.

Meanwhile, his friend has applied for funding and is waiting for a response.

READ: Students queue outside UJ despite no walk-ins allowed

Rita Malopa arrived with her son Lerato who wanted to change from one course to another. Lerato wants to study civil engineering but the teenager has been told that he needs to reapply afresh before he can be accepted.

Another teenager, Kefiloe Nkadimeng, was told that the system was offline and that she must go online after midnight to see if she was accepted.

Her mother, Bafedi Nkadimeng, said the process was frustrating because her daughter had applied on time last year at the university and they were only waiting for confirmation of her acceptance.

"We came here thinking she would be allocated space to begin her studies. But, now we are told to go back and check if she has been accepted online," said Nkadimeng.

Sibusiwe Masango said her 18-year-old daughter Nokubonga Masango applied last year to study sport psychology but wanted to change her course to chartered accountancy.

Assisting students

South African Student Congress (Sasco) member Thabang Mamaila said they were assisting students who were battling with their registrations, clarifications of courses, enquiries and late applications.

"University of Johannesburg has not opened its late application processes. We are also assisting those who need to do part-time courses and those who need funding. We don't want to see parents standing in long queues with their children.

"We are aware that there is an SRC trust fund which covers registration [fees] of students who can't afford [to pay]. We have always advised students while at high school to apply for funding. NSFAS is problematic and we think the organisation needs to change how it operates.

"We are pleading with NSFAS to have local offices in every institution that provides relevant information to prevent many students from being stranded," he said.

The University of Johannesburg has repeatedly stated that it will not accept walks-ins for late enquiries in January 2019.

It said it would be conducting a final selection process after the release of the Grade 12 results and inform applicants within five working days officially via email, and unofficially via SMS, about the outcome of their applications.

The university said that applicants were not required to visit any campus to confirm their final application status.

If an applicant has not received an SMS or email within five working days from the release of the final Grade 12 results from UJ, they have been urged to visit the website to verify your application status or call the UJ call centre.

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