Cape Town students have signed petitions to make year-end exams option in light of the recent protests. Activities at universities throughout South Africa have been disrupted by student protests over tuition fees and the outsourcing of workers.
The first position asked for the University of Cape Town to give students the “reasonably fair option to have their semester mark used as a final course mark. At least 3,600 students have added their name to the petition by noon on Sunday.
There was another petition for students are the University of the Western Cape (UWC), which garnered at least 3,300 signatures as well.
Molupi Motsoeneng, a supporter of the petition, wrote: “These disruptions have been disturbing mentally. We keep on getting into studying zone and once we in, we forcefully get dragged out. Not cool considering exam stress on its own is a lot.”
Many students feel as though they are at a disadvantage because all UCT libraries remained closed over the weekend due to protest action.
Sam Burditt, another petition supporter added, “Some of us don’t have access to a pro-learning environment to study at outside of UCT.” Another student stated that students could not be expected to write exams “after facing police brutality.”
UCT Vice-Chancellor Max Price said in a statement on Saturday night that the university was committed to proceeding with exams. “In the event of the disruption of any examination, we will do everything reasonably possible to provide for an alternative examination within the examination period,” he said.
Certain undergraduate students were given the option to defer their November exams to January next year. Students who do not want to defer their exams must reschedule their exams according to the to reschedule November exam timetable.
“I assure you that we are acutely aware of the frustration, anxiety and the impact of the uncertainty on the campus community.” However, he made it clear that students who disrupted exams would face disciplinary action and the possibility of expulsion.