UNISA Set to Undergo Administrative Oversight.

The announcement by Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology Blade Nzimande of his intentions to place the University of South Africa (Unisa) under administration could come as a shock to the institution’s current and prospective students, but sources indicate that students will not be affected by it.

 

“Students will not be affected by this,” the source told IOL.

We asked if students funded through NSFAS would be affected by the minister’s decision to enforce Section 49B of the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997.

 

“No, they will not. Everything will be fine for students,” the source said.

It is understood that the university will make an announcement regarding students in the coming days.

IOL also asked Minister Nzimande’s spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi about how the move will affect students and is awaiting his response as we were unable to get hold of him.

 

On Monday, Nzimande confirmed that he notified Unisa council chairperson James Maboa on August 4 of his intention to appoint an administrator.

 

Right2Justice and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) have since welcomed the minister’s decision.

 

The move to put the institution under administration came after reports by an independent assessor, Themba Mosia, and the Ministerial Task Team (MTT), chaired by Dr Vincent Maphai.

 

Allegations of maladministration and bullying were investigated.

The MTT report also found that Unisa was not financially sustainable.

According to Mnisi, Nzimande intends to exercise his powers in terms of Section 49B of the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997.

 

Under this piece of legislation, the council of Unisa will be dissolved upon an appointment of an administrator.

 

In 1946, Unisa became one of the first education institutions to teach by means of distance learning and has around 400,000 students, according to their website.

Sixty-three percent of its students are women, and 37% are men.

 

More than 90% of Unisa students study part-time.

 

Unisa said it had a mature student population when compared to conventional universities. Sixty percent of students are between 25 and 39.

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