UNISA caved in yesterday and promised angry students they would be given the chance to write examinations they missed at a later date.
The police were called in to calm angry Unisa students who were locked out of an exam centre in Ormonde, Johannesburg. The students had arrived late and were barred from writing.
It is alleged that they broke the centre's windows and disrupted a second session of exams.
A student who called Sowetan said the students were upset because they would have been forced to repeat the whole semester. She said one module could cost anything from R950 to R1200.
"They did not tell us they had changed the rules. In the past we were allowed five minutes' grace if we were late," she said. "We did nothing wrong but they called the cops."
At one stage the students threatened the chief invigilator by saying they would inform ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema or Unisa chancellor Mathews Phosa. Both were unavailable since they were attending Malema's disciplinary hearing.
Unisa spokesperson Lehuma Ntuane said while exams usually start at 8.30am, students are required to take their places 15 minutes before.
"Some of the students were half an hour late. The same thing happened in Pretoria," Ntuana said.
"The dean of students, registrar and the SRC met and agreed that the students would be allowed to write sometime later this year."