NMMU announces measures to salvage remainder of academic year

OCTOBER 28, 2015

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Tuesday announced a plan to enable students, who lost exam and study time during the past week's #feesmustfall protests, to be able to catch-up.

"Meetings have been held with ALL the Faculty Executive Deans, as well as with the Director of Academic Administration, who have assessed the situation in every department and programme, in consultation with their staff, in order to maximise the opportunities for students to succeed in completing this academic year," said Prof Denise Zinn, DVC Teaching and Learning at NMMU in a statement.

She said that in all instances, it has been ascertained that there will be no need to postpone the existing final examination schedule this year.

"However, Academic Administration has extended the deadline for submitting year marks to 4 November. In addition, several processes have been put in place that may require utilising part of the preparation or ‘study break’ in the first week in November, in order to offer support for preparations for the end of year exams and assessments."

Prof Zinn said that an ‘in principle’ decision was taken by all the Deans of Faculties to adopt a flexible approach, which may take different forms in different faculties, to enable entry to the end of year examinations in order to conclude this academic year.

"This approach will include alternative but legitimate ways to assess ‘duly performed’ (DP) requirements. These are likely to relate to modules specifically affected during the period of the protest action, and the interruption to the scheduled teaching, learning and assessment activities during this time, including practicals and tests that were scheduled.

"We wish to acknowledge the efforts of staff and students to ensure that the related academic and economic struggles that affect education do not affect the possibility to conclude this academic year as successfully as possible," she said.

"Staff in some faculties have cancelled their participation in conferences taking place during this time, or other engagements in order to be fully available to support students in catching up on academic work lost during this time.

"We applaud these efforts. It is part of NMMU’s commitment to a humanising pedagogy that several creative alternative programmes of support have been set up in every faculty."

Prof Zinn added that the Centre for Teaching, Learning & Media, as well as the Student Counselling Division have also augmented their usual programmes of support during this period to accommodate and create ways to assist students and staff in their endeavours to ensure maximum success this year, without compromising issues of quality. 

"Finally we wish to acknowledge that we have experienced this past period, with students taking a major stand on issues of equality in higher education, as a time of great learning for us all and hope to harness this amazing energy to revitalise and transform our academic system.

"We know that we will all be strengthened by the lessons learnt, and utilise them in our efforts to be a learning organisation, as all educational institutions surely need to be," she said.