Solutions 'being found' to overcrowding at NMMU

APRIL 22, 2016

Solutions to overcrowding challenges at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth are being found, the institution has said.

Duplication of lectures, the hosting of lectures during lunch or late in the afternoon have been introduced in an attempt to alleviate the overcrowding challenges that have arisen to date.

Though overcrowding is an annual start-of-the-year phenomena, this year the situation has been exasperated by interventions to assist students who are financially disadvantaged. The national decision not to increase university fees as well as NMMU’s own debt and down payment relief interventions have translated into a large increase in the number of modules taken up - 10% as opposed to the usual annual 2% to 3% increase.

“We have found some solutions through the space created by the availability of the new Science facility, and offering alternative lecture times, but as a University still has further work to do,” says NMMU Deputy Director: Faculty Administration Henk Erasmus.

Faculty Deans have also urged their staff to identify lectures where overcrowding is occurring.

“If we are not alerted to an overcrowding challenge, we cannot assist. We now know of a further three instances where there is overcrowding,” says Mr Erasmus.

NMMU has about 2 100 modules on its timetable. This translates to about 8 000 classes a week for the 350 different programmes offered to about 27 000 students on six different campuses.

The University has apologised to students for any inconvenience caused and assures both students and staff that it is committed to finding solutions, both temporarily and in the long-term.

Management is looking at what additional immediate interventions are available, but also to highlight and prioritise the long-term interventions required to limit or prevent instances of overcrowding.

Image: NEW INFRASTRUCTURE … The new Science building on South Campus was opened early to alleviate some of the overcrowding challenges.