Nzimande cleaning house to avoid another UJ stampede

Earlier this year, Nzimande promised that a central applications system (CAS) would be implemented for first time university applications but prospective students should only expect phase one next year.

The death of a parent and injury of several prospective students during a stampede at the University of Johannesburg in January this year, prompted Nzimande to take steps to avoid future incidents.

The CAS will help matric learners looking for placements in January as well as those not accepted by their initial choice of university and looking for other options. Phase one is referred to as "Clearing House" to emphasise the department's efforts in minimising the number of walk-in centres and better manage the number of people queuing for applications at universities.

KwaZulu-Natal's Central Applications Office (CAO) has been operating since 1999. Nzimande said the office would help with any technical and administrative needs for CAS implementation in other provinces.

Prospective students currently pay application fees to every university they apply to. Although this will still apply during phase one in January 2013, "once developed to its full application, the CAS service will facilitate better management of student enrolments within higher education and training institutions at a standardised cost," said Nzimande.


The exact cost of this application has not been determined.

Support and guidance will also be provided to prospective students who will be using a call centre and website to access information on availability at universities.

"The career advice call centre operates on a toll-free line (0860 111 673) and SMS line (0722045056). It will provide electronic information to channel applicants to places still available within higher education and training institutions, while at the same time informing institutions of possible applicants that fulfil those institutions' minimum admission requirements," Nzimande said.

While the system will operate to help find universities with space and direct students to them, it will also assist matric learners unsuccessful in their applications and those whose results are only receivable in January.

Nzimande said: "These groups of students will be redirected through the 'Clearing House' facility to a variety of educational spaces within the PSET [post-school education and training] system ranging from spaces still available at other universities, to FET [further education training] colleges and learnerships within the Seta's [sector education training authority]".

He also pointed out that "those [matrics] who don't make it must know that university is not the only option, there are other options available".

Nzimande said there was "buy-in" from all 23 universities, communities and learners on CAS. "This is because it will be simpler, they won't have to pay money to different institutions and hope to get a response from one of them".

Education analyst Graem Bloch said phase one of the CAS was a good start for the project. "I think it's a great thing that this system is information-centred instead of control-centred, because a lot more discussion with universities still needs to happen.

"As far as the standard cost that will apply to using the CAS, it's also a good thing. Universities shouldn't be making money out of students anyway by charging hefty fees for things like late applications," Bloch said.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Unisa shortlists two candidates for the vice-chancellor job

The outgoing vice-chancellor’s term has been extended to April to allow for a smooth hand-over

Fort Hare students test positive for Covid after partying

The 30 students, who went to a bash at a tavern in East London, were not wearing masks, did not sanitise their hands nor keep to social distancing regulations.

Five universities extend academic year to March 2021

Minister Blade Nzimande says a staggered ending of the academic year is intended to support students

‘There are Mechanisms in Place’: Collaboration births sacred text

‘There are Mechanisms in Place’, comprising text, poetry and visual analysis of Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s practice, reveals how working together is a powerful philosophy

Walter Sisulu University is playing catch-up with online learning

Some affluent institutions have already finished the first semester online, but historically disadvantaged universities like Walter Sisulu University are having to start from scratch

A small number of students can return to university, but some choose not to

They stayed away because they feared getting Covid-19, had comorbidities, were in quarantine, had become infected and the safety measures such as curfews were too limiting
Advertising

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

It’s not a ‘second wave’: Covid resurges because safety measures...

A simple model shows how complacency in South Africa will cause the number of infections to go on an upward trend again

Unisa shortlists two candidates for the vice-chancellor job

The outgoing vice-chancellor’s term has been extended to April to allow for a smooth hand-over

How US foreign policy under Donald Trump has affected Africa

Lesotho has been used as a microcosm in this article to reflect how the foreign policy has affected Africa

Trouble brewing for Kenya’s coffee growers

Kenyan farmers say theft of their crop is endemic – and they suspect collusion
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday