DURBAN - STUDENTS who obtained Higher Certificates from the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT) Faculty of Management Sciences, say they want answers from the institution regarding their enrolment in the university’s diploma programme.
The students held a protest on Monday outside the institution’s ML Sultan Campus.
Nomfundo Sibiya, from Johannesburg, who holds a Higher Certificate in marketing management, said she had been in limbo since 2021.
“We were doing Higher Certificates last year, and they promised that they would enrol us for the diploma programme this year if we pass with a 60% average and above. That has not happened till now,” said Sibiya.
She added the certificate was of no use as it was not accepted at other institutions.
“I have tried going to colleges and applying there, but they told me I cannot be enrolled there because I am overqualified. Other universities do not want to accept me either because if you start with the Higher Certificate, then you are compelled to complete it at that particular university,” said Sibiya.
Sibiya added the university’s processes and procedures of the Higher Certificate course were not clearly outlined to her when she joined the course.
Nobuhle Ntuli, who completed her Higher Certificate in 2020, said she wanted to be enrolled into the diploma programme.
“I undertook the Higher Certificate course after I was advised to do so because it had plenty of space to accommodate those of us who could not enrol into the diploma programme. They did not tell me that it is an exit course and that I would be stranded like this after completing it,” said Ntuli.
According to the Student Representative Council (SRC)’s Education and Transformation Officer Thandeka Dlamini, the issue of the enrolment of Higher Certificate students into diploma courses has been raised with the university’s management on several occasions, but no resolution had been reached.
“We have proposed for the Higher Certificate course to be converted into an access course instead of an exit course whereby all students who were doing Higher Certificates will be enrolled for a diploma, but it has not been approved, and it will take many months before that can be approved,” said Dlamini.
“I received an email from the faculty dean on Friday who told me that only two students qualified from the bunch, but he could not register them immediately and would have to wait for a senate meeting in June to discuss a way forward,” said Dlamini.
Dlamini said that it was difficult to give feedback to the students as there was no clarity on their demands.
“It is honestly up to the students whether they wait for a response from the institution on the outcomes of their proposal, which might be available in June after the senate meeting, or they can explore other alternatives like enrolling at Tvet colleges or other universities who do take students that were doing Higher Certificates,” said Dlamini.
In response to questions, DUT said it could confirm that a group of students who were allegedly enrolled for the Higher Certificate programme during the 2021 academic year held a protest at the ML Sultan campus demanding to be absorbed into a diploma programme in their field of study.
DUT said it commenced the offering of higher certificate qualifications to allow students with a Grade 12 certificate endorsement to be permitted admission into a first-level university qualification.
“The completion of a higher certificate does not imply immediate admission into a diploma programme within a given academic year, regardless of the results obtained.
“Furthermore, the completion of a particular higher certificate qualification does not imply that the university is obliged to grant the student admission to any of the diploma programme on offer.”
The university added at no stage were students promised they would be absorbed into the diploma programmes.
“The matter of higher certificate recipients has been discussed with the SRC after this matter was raised the previous year as well. The university has developed articulation guidelines for non-HEQSF (Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework) aligned programmes that include articulation from Higher Certificate to a Diploma.”