More than 100 Walter Sisulu University students were abruptly deregistered in the middle of the year.
According to the students, who were all in the faculty of science, engineering and technology, they registered for the 2020 academic year in February but to their shock, months later the university said their registrations were “illegal”.
In May, the students were removed from the academic system and now they are unable to write their final exams.
Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved students, Zintle Sali, who is studying analytical chemistry, said a list of “academically excluded” students had been released in March, “and those students who were on that list then wrote letters of appeal”.
“On May 10 we received an e-mail which said we had been illegally registered at the institution.
“Four days later, we were deregistered.
“On the day we were deregistered, we were shown another list which had the names of students who were unaware that they had been academically excluded,” Sali said.
An inquiry sent to university spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo was unanswered by print deadline on Thursday.
WSU Buffalo City campus SRC premier Sipho Sizani, who said he was recently suspended by the university after the return of the last cohort of students to the institution said: “The very first list of students who had been academically excluded was released in January, during registration.
“The SRC went through the list and found the university had prescribed 2020 prospectus rules to determine the exclusion, yet the students’ results were from 2019.”
Academic exclusion is based on academic performance.
“We challenged the institution to rectify the matter and focus on using the correct prospectus in gauging academic exclusion,” Sizani said, adding management agreed to rectify the matter.
However, Sizani said the same list, but this time with even more names on it, was published in March.
“By that time students had settled in academically, were at their respective residences and continuing with their studies.
“Some appealed, and some found themselves stuck as they appeared on the March list but had not appeared on the January list.
“The university said the second list was an automated one, which picked up students who had already registered,” Sizani said.
“That is why it was our suggestion to suspend academic exclusion in 2020, as it was applied incorrectly,” Sizani said.
Sali said a number of students had been too afraid to break the news to their parents.
“We spent a good part of the year focusing on our studies, and to be told that this academic year will not count has a ripple effect on our schooling.
“Most of us are NSFAS beneficiaries.
“We have been receiving our NSFAS money yet we have been deregistered from the institution.
“Next year, NSFAS will need our 2020 academic records and we will have nothing to show.
“How will we secure funding to further our studies next year?
“This matter has brought nothing but pain and disruption. Many of us have given up on this academic year,” Sali said.