The University of South Africa (Unisa) has refused to talk about the minister of higher education, science and innovation’s notice to place it under administration.
Speaking in a media briefing in Pretoria on Wednesday about its successes and challenges, vice-chancellor professor Puleng LenkaBula side-stepped the elephant in the room.
LenkaBula said the university will not speak on the matter until it is heard in court.
“We reiterate the university’s stance on the independent assessor’s report and its predecessor report [the ministerial task team report] that, while the university co-operated with both processes and respected the reports, we differ with the findings of both reports that the institution was collapsing,” she said.
Minister Blade Nzimande announced in August that he intends to place Unisa under administration.
He gave the council of Africa’s largest open-distance learning institution an extension to respond to his notice, which expired on September 3.
LenkaBula told the media that due to the issues about the independent assessor’s report and the minister’s notice to place the university under administration being sub judice, the university has adopted an official position of not dealing with these issues in public.
She defended the quality of Unisa’s qualifications following allegations of cheating.
She said the university has gone fully online since the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that it has measures in place to ensure qualifications meet high standards.
“Like all other institutions of higher learning, Unisa has also put in place additional measures to safeguard the integrity of qualifications.
“This includes standard procedures within departments, quality assurance committees, and college-specific peer review measures to ensure Unisa qualifications are up to standard.”
Lenkabula also said that Unisa has qualified academics with 60% of all academic staff being PhD holders. A total of 245 are National Research Foundation-rated researchers.
The institution further said it does not plan on going back to physical examinations, as this is not aligned with its goals of being a world-leading open-learning distance institution.