Week-long postponement of Wits final exams

Johannesburg – Examinations for Wits University students have been postponed for a week, the institution announced on Sunday.

The exams were scheduled to begin on Monday, but had since been shifted to November 9.

“This is subject to approval from Senate, the highest academic decision-making body of the university,” Deputy Vice Chancellor Tawana Kupe said in a statement.

This was just one of several student demands that the university management had agreed to following two days of talks between management, representatives of outsourced workers and students.

Following the talks, Wits had also agreed to:

– Insourcing in principle.

– The establishment of a commission to determine the details of how insourcing can be undertaken in a financially sustainable manner.

– In the upcoming week, the workers’ representatives, students, academics and management will determine who will serve on the commission. The representatives will report on the progress of establishing the commission on November 6 2015.

– The commission will negotiate the contents of a proposed workers charter.

– A memorandum of understanding on the way forward will be drafted.

– Children of outsourced workers who qualify to study at Wits will receive financial aid from the university.

– The R1 500 examination supplementary fee will be waived.

– Qualifying, financially-stressed final year students in 2015 who owe R15 000 or less, will not be required to pay this amount in order to graduate, as this may prevent them from finding a job.

Wits students embarked on a two-week long protest after the institution announced a 10.5% fee hike for 2016.

The demonstrations quickly spread to campuses around South Africa, eventually culminating in President Jacob Zuma announcing a freeze in university fee hikes for 2016.

But some students have said this is not enough and called for free education.