TOUGH: The educational philosophy assessment papers that caused the University of Limpopo students to walk out.

Durban - Repercussions will be set for the University of Limpopo students who walked out of a lecture hall after refusing to write an exam, the worst being suspension.

Earlier this week, several videos went viral online, showing over 400 third-year Philosophy of Education students protesting in a lecture hall before walking out.

Initial reports suggested that the exam was too difficult however, some students later claimed that they were given the wrong examination and walked out in frustration.

University of Limpopo Vice-chancellor, Mpho Mokgolang, said: “All I know is that the cover was not correct. It stated HEDA 301 instead of HEDA 302. But the content was what students were studying.”

Mokgolang said the lecturer who had overseen the exam was traumised by what had transpired, but added, that they were coping. 

Mokgolang said the exam would be rewritten on September 11.

Detailing the repercussions for the students' behaviour, Mokgolang said the severity of punishment would depend on the outcome of ongoing investigations by the university.

“The worst would be rustication (suspension),” he said.

There were also fears that the actions of the University of Limpopo (UL)  students who stormed out of the lecture hall after refusing to write an exam, would rub off onto others.

Education analyst, Hendrick Makaneta, said students were quick to learn from their counterparts, and the incident had “embarrassed the terrain of higher institutions.”

“This has already set a wrong precedent because of the power of social media. Students are quick to learn and catch the habits of others,” he said.

But the Durban University of Technology (DUT) Student Representative Council president Siphephelo Mthembu, said local students would not be fazed.

“Their (Limpopo students) behaviour in that video will not come in close proximity to affect our own students. Lecturers will always tell students what is expected in the exams, and tests are based on what is studied in class,” he said.

Both Mokgolang and Makaneta believed that students should have followed exam protocol and raised their hand if they had a query, or further raised the issue with the respective head of department.

UL SRC president, Mintirho Mnisi, said he urged students to raise their hand and iron out the matter with the lecturer.

“If you must leave then do it in the proper manner. This cannot go unpunished,” he said.

The Department of Higher Education and Training said it was leaving the matter in the hands of the university to investigate.

Spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said: “The issue of exams, rules, and repercussions are the prerogative of the university. The department is aware of the incident and will rely on the outcome of the university’s investigation.”

SUNDAY TRIBUNE