Cape Town - Familiar scenes of long queues with first-year students registering to secure their places, and walk-ins camping with their bags on campus in the hope of being accepted, will be a thing of the past this year.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on Monday encouraged tertiary education institutions not to over-enrol and clearly communicate their registration plans with returning and new students.
The 2021 academic year is expected to commence between early March and mid April this year.
The four universities in the Western Cape have urged students to register online for the 2021 academic year and made it clear that applications for this year were closed.
UWC spokesperson Gasant Abarder said the institution could accommodate 4 500 first-year undergraduate students.
“The university has received about 60 000 applications for first year study for 2021. Registration of students will occur online only.
“The university has a helpline to assist those first years who have been accepted and offered a placement with their registration,” he said.
According to Abarder the campus will not reopen when the academic year starts on March 8.
“The university will continue to work online and remotely and has successfully been able to complete the 2020 academic year in this way with a 94% participation rate in lectures across faculties.
“The university will always err on the side of caution when it comes to the health and safety of students and staff and continue to abide by the allowed threshold of 33% of students and staff allowed back on campus,” said Abarder.
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s (CPUT) Lauren Kansley said: “Students, including prospective first-year students and their guardians are urged not to travel to campuses for face-to-face assistance from staff. This is to avoid large crowds and respect the national protocol of no gatherings during the second wave of the Covid19 pandemic. This year the institution will only be accepting online registrations and queries for the 2021 academic year and strictly no walk-ins will be allowed.”
UCT spokesperson Nombuso Shabalala said registration for first-time entering undergraduate students was scheduled to take place from March 1 and for returning students this started on Wednesday.
“The total number of prospective first-time entering undergraduate students who have applied to study at UCT in 2021 is 44 600. UCT has the capacity to enrol 4 200 first year students in 2021. The university’s overall total student population is about 30 000.”
Shabalala said the institution would adopt physically distanced learning this year.
“Sessions that involve physical contact, whether in a laboratory, studio, tutorial or final-year lecture will be held under strict health protocols.
“On registration, students will need to sign a commitment of adherence to Covid-19 health and safety protocols before being allowed on campus.”
Stellenbosch University’s Martin Viljoen said SU could enrol about 5 500 first-year undergraduate students.
“In total, SU has received approximately 42 500 new first-time entry applications and made 12 000 provisional offers.
“Online registration has been in place for a number of years at SU and most students will be able to register for the 2021 academic year online.
“We therefore do not expect large numbers of students who will register in person for the 2021 academic year,” he said. SU officially opened on January 4 with undergraduate classes scheduled to resume on March 15.