Disgruntled University of South Africa (Unisa) students have decried the online system saying it was unfair and affecting their academic activities.
Last year when the country went into lockdown due to the spread of COVID-19, Unisa introduced online examinations as part of its effort to save the academic year.
But some Unisa students said the online system caused undue delays with their studies.
One student who spoke on condition of anonymity shared with Newsnote an email correspondence with the institution in which she lodged a complaint about marks for her Spatial Development, Geometry and Trigonometry in Intermediate and Senior Mathematics MAE102k examination. The student claims she obtained 9% for her examination with the institution saying her exam script was only one page, while she claims she submitted a 14-page script.
In response to her inquiry in an email Newsnote has seen Unisa said: ”In an attempt to satisfy you, please find one page that was uploaded for MAE102K examination.
“The script, after being retrieved from J-Router resides on the CD drive of the computer used to mark them. I have retrieved this one page to show you as evidence of what was uploaded, received and marked,” said the institution.
The student said she had to rewrite the examination after only a part of her examination script was uploaded. She said she had to rewrite the paper again and wasted a semester due to a technical error that she didn’t cause.
Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, promised that no students would be left behind when he implemented multimodal teaching and learning to ensure everyone is included, even in remote areas.
But the biggest distance learning institution in Africa opted to move everything to technology, including writing all examinations online.
Another student, Sarrell Ngobeni, who lives in Phomolong, an informal settlement in Mamelodi, described the online system as unfair to him.
“We have to use the laptop when we write our online examinations. Most of us who are very disadvantaged, we stay in an area where there is no electricity, it is a squatter camp. For us to write exams, we have to walk around asking people for electricity,” said Ngobeni.
He added that internet connectivity is also a problem.
While the right to education is enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution, the migration to online teaching and learning has left some students scrambling for the same access to education.
Unisa registration opened on for Semester modules from 5 January until 12 February 2021 and for year modules from 5 January until 11 March 2021