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By Dimakatso Modipa

Vice Principal for Institutional Development Professor Ramagoai Magano addressing members of the media at Unisa Tshwane photo by Dimakatso Modipa
Vice Principal for Institutional Development Professor Ramagoai Magano addressing members of the media at Unisa Tshwane photo by Dimakatso Modipa

The University of South Africa (Unisa) held a media briefing at its main campus in Pretoria on Wednesday morning to address various allegations that have been levelled at the university by various sectors of society, including the media.

According to Vice Principal for Institutional Development Professor Ramagoai Magano, the media briefing is part of the university’s resolve to regularly keep the public abreast of developments at the world renowned institution of higher learning.

Regarding the ensuing disciplinary cases against some students at the university, Professor Magano said the following:

“It is important to emphasise the point that every institution of higher learning has got examination rules and regulations; and that it is compulsory for all students to observe the set rules and regulations.”

He said it would be irresponsible for the university not to act, first by investigating those who have been flagged for violating the rules and then instituting disciplinary proceedings in instances where there are cases to be answered.

Magano revealed that all cases against students accused of failure to adhere to the Invigilator App have been concluded and the implicated students were only given warning letters as these contraventions were considered to be minor.

“1456 cases still remain on the roll of the disciplinary committee and they entail plagiarism and non-adherence to Turnitin,” he said.

According to Magano, the targeted date for completion of all the aforesaid disciplinary cases is the end of May 2024.

“It must be emphasised that students who are undergoing disciplinary hearings are allowed to register in the intervening period to ensure that should they not be found guilty as charged, they are not disadvantaged with regard to their studies and academic progress,” said Magano.

Regarding a letter reportedly written by the university to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande pleading with him not to place the university under administration, Magano said the following:

“Those reports are simply not true, however, we can confirm that discussions did take place between the lawyers of the Minister and the university during which an out-of-court settlement proposal was made to the university,” he said.

But Magano explained that the university rejected the proposal and made it clear to the Minister’s lawyers that it would be in the interests of the university and the Minister that the issue of putting the university under administration be adjudicated by the judiciary system of the country.

On allegations of impropriety levelled at the university’s Acting Chief Financial Officer Dr Rashem Mathura, Magano indicated that the university has tasked relevant departments within the institution to investigate the said allegations and follow due process.

Magano painstakingly pointed out that Unisa students must appreciate the fact that the stringent measures implemented regarding examinations are meant to enhance the academic integrity of their qualifications.

“This is not meant to be adverse to them but is aimed at making sure that our programmes and assessment practices would be recognised by our peers in the academic fraternity as well as those who may be interested in employing them,” he said.

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