The North-West University (NWU) today held a successful media networking session to update members of the media fraternity on progress on the commencement of its 2022 academic year.
The institution hosted its official academic opening on Friday, 18 February, while classes commenced this week on Monday, 21 February.
At the closing of applications in 2021, close to 150 000 students applied to study at the NWU. As at 24 February, 41 077 senior students have registered. Of this number, 3 200 are provisionally registered pending the finalisation of various matters, mainly of a financial nature.
11 310 first-year students are now fully registered, while the NWU only had 10 891 spaces available across its campuses in Mahikeng, Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark for new students.
The NWU once again reiterated its stance that it is a contact institution, and as such all its 2022 students were invited back to campuses.
“A full-time student who is registered for the full complement of modules in a programme, should be busy with their academic activities for at least 40 hours per week. Experience has shown that students are more likely to succeed in an environment where their learning is optimally supported,” says Prof Linda du Plessis, acting principal and vice-chancellor.
According to Prof du Plessis, the NWU embarked on emergency online teaching and learning in its contact programmes since 2020, but adapted to a more blended teaching and learning model in 2021.
This year, the frequency of face-to-face contact (in various forms) will be increased and more sit-down assessments will be scheduled.
“Although not every student will be able to attend every contact opportunity in person, we are piloting a series of Hyflex academic venues that will allow us to livestream sessions or upload recordings afterwards. Assessments will be online and in person (sit-downs), according to schedules to be provided in February and March 2022,” says Prof Du Plessis.
It needs to be categorically stated that the NWU has a non-mandatory stance on vaccinations, and any staff member or student who wishes not to be vaccinated (on constitutional or medical grounds), may apply for exemption. These applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may provide specific restrictions and limitations of access to any of the university environments.
The NWU has taken note of the planned march by some students of the Potchefstroom Campus, regarding the NWU’s vaccination stance. Approval was granted for the march to take place tomorrow, Friday 25 February. We respect the rights of individuals to publicly voice their opinions and express their freedom of speech. We pride ourselves in encouraging robust discussions on topical issues as part of our aim to deliver well-rounded graduates to society.
As was previously communicated, we need to review our Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment and see whether this will inform a possible review of our Covid-19 vaccination plans and SOPs or whether the outcome of the risk assessments will be the same. Until this review of our safety plans is completed, we are not going to enforce the SOPs in the employment and student environment. We do this because we realise a lot has changed in the external environment since we have started the development and introduction of these plans in the last quarter of 2021.
In addition, the university will await directives from the Department of Higher Education and Training in terms of new Covid-19 guidelines that will further guide us in addressing risks associated with the pandemic in our environment.
The management of the NWU is aware that there remain a lot of uncertainties and questions among stakeholders regarding the management of health and related risks, but wants to give its stakeholders the assurance that the university is doing everything possible to find an amicable solution for all concerned.
This being said, no one will be turned away from any of its campuses based on their vaccination status. The same applies to residences.
With the upcoming graduation season, all indications are that these will be held in person, automatically with certain limitations to ensure compliance with Covid-19 regulations.
Kindly click here for a recording of the media networking session.