University students want to interdict Wits over exams‚ claim trauma‚ 'superficial' teaching


Students from the University of Witwatersrand with the assistance of the Socio-Economics Rights Institute (SERI) have applied for an interdict in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to prevent the university from commencing with its end of year examinations this Thursday‚ asking for a postponement of at least two weeks.

The application will be heard in the high court tomorrow.

In her founding affidavit‚ Seadimo Tlale‚ a final year LLB student and one of the students bringing the application‚ argues that students have been left with very little time to prepare for the final examinations‚ and therefore asks that the court postpones the commencement of the examinations with at least two weeks.

“If the examination were to continue on that date it would have the inevitable consequences that the vast majority of students will either fail (or substantially underachieve) or‚ to avoid that consequence‚ the university will have to impose a general increase in the marks of all students‚” she said in her affidavit.

Tlale further states that students have been traumatised by the heavy police presence and violence they have experienced.

“This period (Fees Must Fall protests) has been marked not only by ongoing violence but a strong police presence‚ as well. Police have fired stun grenades‚ tear gas and rubber bullets indiscriminately. Apparently‚ no distinction has been made between protesting and non-protesting students‚” she said. “Those who attend lectures are in constant fear for their wellbeing from both protesting students and police alike.”

Tlale states that the students do not intend challenging the writing of examinations‚ but that the university has “underestimated the emotional and psychological trauma of the tensions on campus and has not afforded us sufficient time to prepare in conditions that are not conducive towards our success“.

“I can state quite categorically that every one of my lecturers is rushing through the course content and dealing with almost all aspects‚ sometimes dense material‚ in a superficial manner‚” she said.


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