Durban academic institutions swamped

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Students queue on the DUT campus for registration. Pictures: Marilyn Bernard

 

Hundreds of hopeful university applicants queued for hours at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Wednesday, hoping to secure a place.

Baatile Poo, director of student academic affairs at UKZN, said the closing date for applications had been September 30, with late applications ending last month. However, walk-ins were permitted between January 7 and 11 at all UKZN campuses.

There were 85 000 applications at UKZN for this year, excluding the walk-ins, and only 8 400 first-year places. By the end of last year, 7 700 provisional offers had been made.

Despite the limited space, it was estimated that Howard College campus had about 150 walk-ins on Monday, 500 on Tuesday and an estimated 1 500 on Wednesday, with more expected until the cut-off date.

Those who had applied last year received confirmation by SMS on Tuesday, following the release of the National Senior Certificate results, of the status of their applications.

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Students queue on the DUT campus for registration. Picture: Marilyn Bernard

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Successful candidates have five days to respond at www.ukzn.ac.za and secure their place at the university.

The Daily News spoke to a number of people standing in long queues on the UKZN Howard College campus yesterday.

Some wanted to check the status of their applications, some wanted to change courses and others were applying for the first time.

Port Shepstone matriculant Mthobisi Gwacela was keeping positive despite receiving a message from the Wits University law faculty on Wednesday saying he had not been accepted.

“I knew where I wanted to go, so I didn’t apply elsewhere,” said Gwacela, who received three distinctions. “I was on the waiting list for Wits, but found out on Wednesday I hadn’t made it. I wanted to study law, but there are no more places, so I will try for politics and try to get into law later on.”

Siphokazi Mshengu from Grace College said she had tried to apply online in June, but had had difficulty with the system.

“I checked my status, but it wasn’t showing up, so I was really worried at the end of last year. It’s so stressful.

“I wanted to study oral hygiene, but now I’ll have to do whatever is available.”

Nkosinqiphile Manqele, from Silethukhanya High School, had left her home in St Lucia at 2am to get to UKZN after receiving an SMS confirming she had been accepted for business studies this year.

“I applied in March and am really excited that I’ve been accepted.”

The news for Scottburgh High School matriculant Shrivar Naidoo was not as promising.

“I was on the waiting list for law, but only found out today (Wednesday) that there are no spaces available. I’m quite disappointed. I’m going to do a Bachelor of Social Sciences or straight BA and try to get into law next year.”

According to Poo, applications for the medical programme closed in June, with the rest of the health sciences, including nursing, following soon after. Other popular programmes for which applications have closed include education, accounting, business studies, and electrical and chemical engineering.

“There were about 20 000 applications for education, which offers 900 places, and about the same number of applicants for social work, which has 250 to 300 places,” he said.

There are still spaces available in the humanities and general BCom programmes as well as space for Quintile 1 and 2 applicants in extended programmes, although these are expected to fill quickly.

Orientation and registration on campus take place from February 3 to 8.

On DUT’s Steve Biko campus, many people were waiting outside the students’ admissions department, despite the university not allowing walk-ins.

A girl cried after she was told the institute could not accept her because she did not have sufficient points.

Kimishka Manjanu, 17, from Verulam, said she did not achieve a Bachelor’s pass, so she had to apply at DUT for a diploma programme.

Manjanu said she had been at DUT from 8am. “It is very hectic here. There are a lot of people and I have not received any assistance from any staff member,” she said.

She was a late applicant for dental technology.

Another late applicant from Verulam, Shaista Sewbaran, said she was nervous. “I want to study civil engineering, but I don’t know if I am going to be accepted at DUT because there are so many people applying. It’s nerve-racking.”

Melford Mahlase, 21, travelled for nine hours on a bus from Mamelodi in Pretoria to Durban to apply at DUT to study information technology.

 

“I have applied to the Tshwane University of Technology, but my place is not guaranteed, so that’s why I came to Durban. I am determined and hopeful that I will get into university,” he said.

It is Mahlase’s first visit to Durban and he has no family or friends in the city. “I know that it is a risk and maybe even a long shot, but I am determined to get a place,” he said.

Sanelisiwe Mkhize, 18, from Pietermaritzburg, said she had been one mark short of a Bachelor’s pass.

“It’s a bummer, but I’m okay. I hope they accept me at DUT to study management accounting. The staff have been helpful,” she said.

Dr Thiru Pillay, acting registrar, said DUT planned to enrol 7 177 new students this year.

“The university received 76 000 applications for first year and semester places this year. Applications closed on September 30 last year,” he said.

After registration, DUT will consider accepting late applicants if space allows. Courses with the most applicants include education, journalism, nursing, emergency medical care and human resources. - Daily News

liam.joyce@inl.co.za

lauren.anthony@inl.co.za


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