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The Higher Education Department is considering halting last-minute university applications after a woman was killed in a stampede at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday, Minister Blade Nzimande said.
“It’s something that we are seriously considering that maybe we should not consider 'walk-ins',” he told reporters in Johannesburg. “We think that the price we are paying is too much.”
Over 20 people were injured in the stampede, caused by thousands of prospective students queuing outside the university for last-minute applications, Johannesburg metro police said earlier.
The University of Johannesburg is one of few universities countrywide that accepts last-minute applications from prospective students who achieved unexpected university entrance passes.
The woman who died was the mother of a prospective student.
The university’s Vice Chancellor Ihron Rensburg said the volume of applications for the current academic year was 85,000, much higher than the 67,000 of last year.
He said 99% of this year’s applicants were seeking admission for undergraduate studies.
“We are the only university that offers diploma courses at undergraduate level. Our undergraduate entry requirements make many high school graduates apply to this institution because of the high chances of being admitted,” said Rensburg.
Nzimande expressed concern that prospective students did not have enough information on the application process and that Further Education and Training colleges (FET) were good alternatives for study.
He said some prospective students did not know what they wanted to study and this “clogged” queues because of “on the spot counselling”.
The department hoped to roll out a centralised admissions process, currently being piloted in KwaZulu-Natal, to avoid incidents such as Tuesday’s, said Nzimande.