NMMU puts up hundreds of students still writing exams

Almost 500 students will be helped with accommodation this month to complete the academic year.

This is due to 70% of students requesting to write exams this month. The remainder will write in January.

NMMU spokeswoman Zandile Mbabela said the number of students who had initially applied for temporary accommodation was about 2 000, but this number had dropped to 471.

“Many landlords have also kindly extended their leases at minimal or no extra cost.

“However, those students who have not been so fortunate will be accommodated at no charge in either on-campus or accredited off-campus residences until they have completed their exams,” Mbabela said.

Accommodation during exams became an urgent concern for students when it looked like the academic year would not be completed on time.

The issue came up at a public mass meeting held by #FeesMustFall students in October.

In a desperate attempt to salvage the academic year, the university implemented a recovery plan and lobbied businesses in the city to assist with exam venues and accommodation.

NMMU housing director Shuping Mpuru said it had been a trying time for students.

“It is not the students’ fault that the academic year had to be extended and that is why we are here to support them,” Mpuru said. Meanwhile, the university was unclear on the provision for accommodation as well as its plan of action should protests flare up with the January exams.

“We are mindful of the uncertainty and fears of a possible flare-up, and the university is working to ensure the shutdown does not adversely impact on the start of the academic year,” Mbabela said.

Concerned Association of Parents and Others for Tertiary Education at Universities member Robert Griebenow said he believed NMMU would not resume with the academic programme next year because of the #FeesMustFall movement’s actions and threats.

“It seems like most parents are lulled into complacency by the fact that their children are writing exams or are at least obtaining a year mark [and] not considering what will happen next year,” Griebenow said.

The association will hold a meeting at Verkenner Primary school in Linton Grange tonight at 6pm to discuss a way forward.

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