The sudden climb down by several university management to allow for walk-in registrations was a result of intense pressure applied by student political organisations. They wanted to ensure all deserving students got an opportunity to register.
This was according to the South African Students Organisation’s (Sasco) secretary, Fasiha Hassan and the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command’s (EFFSC) Phuthi Keetse, during a wide-ranging interview with the SABC on the unfolding registration process at various universities and TVET colleges.
Last year, through Universities South Africa (USAf), institutions vowed they would not allow students to register in person. They wanted students to do so online. They have since adopted a “flexible approach” and allowed walk-ins after the registration process was going on in an orderly manner.
The student leaders agreed there was no basis for university management to oppose the walk-ins since this method proved to be the most effective way of registering students throughout the years. They both rejected the suggestion that they threatened to destabilise the start of the academic year if universities didn’t allow for their demand for walk-in applications.
“Walk-in registration process is nothing new. It has been happening all the years and works well if universities put proper systems in place. We have seen it work in the past and all it takes is to dedicate an office and personnel to deal with students who come to register. And the institutions have the capacity to do so and we have seen proceeding well,” said Hassan.
Keetse said disallowing walk-in registrations was going to disadvantaged students from poor communities.
“It is unfair to expect students who come from deep rural areas to register online when they have no access to internet facilities or walk long distances to get to one. And in some instances, these don’t work efficiently,” said Keetse.
He said the influx of students into universities and TVET colleges was due to the announcement of the free higher education which saw the threshold for qualifying students revised.
“Most students knew only in December after President Jacob Zuma announced at the ANC conference. And they didn’t have time to register online and they only way they could register was to go to the institutions in person,” Keetse said.
The student leaders also blamed the stampedes and chaos in TVET colleges on the poor handling of the registration process by the institutions’ management.