Postal strike dashes varsity hopes
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Johannesburg - The postal strike may have sabotaged some matriculants’ plans to go to university this year, particularly the poorest matriculants.
The Higher Education Transformation Network (HETN) said the applications of some of those who should be going to university may not have reached the institutions in time due to the strike.
Spokesman Hendrick Makaneta said: “HETN notes that most rural schools, whose learners relied heavily on the Post Office, may be excluded on the basis that they did not submit their applications on time to universities.
“No student from a rural and disadvantaged background should be excluded, because we all know the postal strike has had a negative impact on the ability of these students to submit applications on time.
“We want to appeal to universities to consider the strike and find a way to assist all affected students, especially those disadvantaged students from rural parts of the country.
“Late applications cannot be attributed to poor students, as the Post Office strike was beyond their control.”
Makaneta said some universities had claimed that they sent staff to rural schools to collect application forms because of the strike, but this should be verified.
“We are going to need concrete evidence from institutions which claim that they visited rural schools during the Post Office strike.
“If these universities say they visited the schools, then we must ask: Who visited the schools? How many schools did they visit? What are the names of those rural schools? How long did the visits last?
“We have reasons to doubt that they reached the poorest of the poor,” he said.
The HETN also called on the higher education sector to admit the maximum number of students and use their resources and budgets to the full.
“It is critical to note that the majority of children in South Africa go to public sector schools, and as such, we believe that academically deserving matriculants from previously disadvantaged schools deserve greater priority during admission,” Makaneta said.