UNISA, two semesters are better than one!

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***UPDATE***

UNISA has made some changes to the academic year, in response to the petition and students concerns. It is not what we have hoped for, but the changes are positive, and time is running out. If you still believe in fighting for two semesters, keep sharing the petition and keep the conversation going. But it seems like most students are willing to accept a longer exam period, and the changes made to the payment due dates. While final semester students being able to finish is a big win.

Victory isn't always 100%, thank you to every individual who signed and shared. We made a difference.

Link to updated policy:

https://www.unisa.ac.za/sites/myunisa/default/Announcements/Unisa-statement-on-student-concerns-raised-on-various-media-platforms

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Following the announcement made by Minister Blade Nzimande, UNISA made an overnight decision to have only one semester in 2021, instead of two.

Read the full statement here: https://www.unisa.ac.za/sites/myunisa/default/Announcements/Registration-and-assessment-changes-for-undergraduate,-honours-and-postgraduate-diploma-students-for-the-2021-academic-year 

This decision taken by UNISA, lead by Professor Puleng LenkaBula, will affect students negatively in various ways.

Students have a greater financial burden, as we now have to pay for two semesters at once. Students will also have to buy extra textbooks. And require more paid/unpaid study leave in one month. The one semester decision have places many students in a position where they have to choose between registration and feeding their families. This is not fair.

Students are also expected to write 10 examinations in November/ December. This is unreasonable and unnecessary. This will lead to students requiring more paid/unpaid study leave in one month, again, this has financial implications for students.

Being a part-time and distance learning student during a pandemic is already very challenging, the recent changes will only make it harder for students who are already struggling to cope with the stress of studying and finances. The decision taken has no consideration for the mental well being of students and their families.

While Minister Blade Nzimande, announced that the academic year will start in March, due to matrics waiting for their results. Other major Universities such as UJ, UCT and WITS have all maintained a two semester system, with only first year students starting the academic year in March.

We ask for the same opportunity, as it is unnecessary and unreasonable to hold back 300000+ students because of outstanding matric results.

Section 29(1)(b) of the Constitution: Everyone has the right to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible. UNISA students feel that the one semester plan is doing the opposite, by making the lives of students unbearable, and placing a bigger financial and mental burden upon us..

The decision is taken under the guise of COVID19, but no real and adequate reasons have been given for this drastic decision, we refer to Section 33 of the Constitution, and ask why no written reasons have been given.

Section 33:

(1) Everyone has the right to administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and
procedurally fair.
(2) Everyone whose rights have been adversely affected by administrative action has
the right to be given written reasons.

Ultimately, this petition aims to have the decision reversed as soon as possible, in order to limit the damages that it will inevitably impose on UNISA Students. Allowing us to continue with the normal, two semester academic year we gave al prepared for. We have a voice. We will be heard.

We thank you for your Support and Solidarity.