Cape Town - The new UCT admissions policy - which uses indicators for disadvantage other than “race” - has been met with numerous and mixed reactions.
On Saturday, the university’s council voted that the new policy be adopted.
The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the Western Cape has slammed the new policy as “undemocratically imposed, anti-transformational”.
The applicant’s home language, parents’ education, whether the family was receiving a social grant and other factors would now be considered. This was expected to come into effect for the 2016 intake.
In a press statement released on Tuesday, the ANCYL said the changes made to the policy undermined the democratic gains made since 1994 and the spirit of the constitution.
“The new admissions policy denies the link between race and disadvantage, and is ultimately antagonistic to the national transformation agenda. It is not possible to achieve a truly non-racial society without taking deliberate steps to transform our institutions of higher learning to be reflective of national demographics.”
The ANCYL said it was also concerned that student opposition to the new policy appeared to have been ignored.
“The previous admissions policy had been yielding consistent transformational gains in every faculty, therefore the ANC Youth League is concerned that the motive behind this change in policy is disingenuous and stems from pressure from external forces.”
It called on the student representative council to challenge the council.
In contrast, the DA Students’ Organisation (Daso) felt the policy was positive for the university.
“Daso UCT welcomes the overwhelming support for the new admissions policy as we believe that it will not only increase racial diversity but also socio-economic transformation. We have worked very hard to create an open opportunity campus for all and we believe that this will transform our university for the better,” said Emma Selfe, branch leader of Daso UCT.
She said it should be stressed that the policy should not be implemented without other support measures.
“We would like to stress that the new admissions policy should be met with a continuous effort to improve the academic support programmes currently at UCT so that not only the admissions, but the retention of students, will continue to diversify so as to create better work opportunities for both previously and currently disadvantaged South Africans.”
The policy has been defended by vice-chancellor Max Price who said he was committed to ensuring more black students would be admitted to the university.
“The policy is designed to increase the number of black students to whom offers are made by UCT in 2016. And I offer my personal commitment that this will in fact be the case,” he wrote in a letter to the Cape Times.