No risk: Cases of German measles (rubella) on the NWU’s Potchefstroom Campus
16 March 2018
About ten laboratory-confirmed cases of German measles occurred on our campus in the past week.
Our Health Services contacted Prof Lucille Blumberg of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and consensus was reached that this outbreak of German measles does not pose a substantial hazard that requires the closure of the campus.
German measles usually starts like a cold (and is already contagious at that stage), and after five days a skin rash appears – typically starting on the head, and then spreading to the trunk and the limbs. Students who are positively diagnosed with the disease with the aid of blood tests must be isolated for approximately 7 to 10 days, and should preferably go home, if this is possible.
Students and staff are encouraged once again to have themselves vaccinated against German measles (MMR vaccine), a vaccination that should be repeated at least every ten years in adults.
Be assured that we will communicate any development in this regard immediately.
Prof Fika Janse van Rensburg
16 March 2018
We refer you to our memo in this regard sent out on 19 October last year.
The scheduled consultation process for the revision of the NWU Language Policy and Plan (LPP) is continuing in 2018. We've had to adjust our timeline somewhat due to certain processes that took longer to accomplish. Here is a revised schedule for the consultation process.
Timeline for the 2017 and 2018 processes with regard to the LPP (deadlines in bold):
Update regarding processes and revised schedule for LPP processes
- A number of unforeseen circumstances (among others the time it took to establish the faculty structures, the refinement of the survey instruments as well the associated approval to conduct this process) have affected the original scheduling, which is now somewhat behind the original time lines set.
- Final ethics clearance has been granted, including approval of the language audit questionnaires.
- Final drafts of audit questionnaires have also been translated into Setswana, Sesotho and Afrikaans and will be updated on the basis of input from the Ethics Committee and translation reviewers.
- Once finalised the questionnaires will be formatted for placement in Survey Analytics on eFundi and the survey will be launched. The electronic survey will be sent out to undergraduate and postgraduate contact students as well as academic and support staff. Other stakeholders will be afforded the opportunity to participate in the LPP revision process by commenting on the draft LPP itself.
Despite being behind the original schedule, we will be catching up, as follows:
- 1 LPP submitted to faculty boards/managements and student leadership during the second week of March for discussion and feedback at their next meetings – first faculty board/management and student leadership meetings, March 2018
- 2. Deadline for feedback from faculty boards and other stakeholders to be received by the registrar – 31 March 2018
- 3. Launching of language audit electronic survey – late March 2018, or as soon as possible thereafter, but no later than 5 April
- 4. Closing date for language audit electronic survey – 20 April 2018
- 5.Analysis of language-audit results and consultation with stakeholders who wish to interact with the LPP task team, scheduled for the period 21 April to 10 May 2018
- 6. Completion of processing by the LPP task team of feedback from stakeholders and language audit as well as update of LPP to incorporate feedback from both stakeholders and audit – before closing date of agenda for Senate meeting on 16 May 2018
- 7. Penultimate draft of LPP presented to Senate – 16 May 2018
- 8. Incorporating Senate input in penultimate draft LPP to establish final draft to Council – before closing date for agenda of June 2018 Council meeting
- 9. Submission of LPP to Council for approval – June 2018. The LPP task team (whose terms of reference were approved by the university management and the Senate in October 2016), will receive feedback as part of its drafting process and will report to Senate towards the middle of 2018 in anticipation of approval by Council at its June 2018 meeting.
Queries with regard to the process and the draft LPP can be directed to Johan Blaauw. The LPP task team, chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, will also keep you up to date as the processes unfold.
As before, we ask everybody to participate fully as the various opportunities arise to revise our Language Policy and Plan.
NWU NSFAS Registration 2018
20 January 2018
This communication should be read together with all other communication already published on the NWU’s website (see Important NSFAS information for 2018 and NSFAS funding: All you need to know). This serves as additional information.
In order to address various uncertainties regarding the registration of students who applied for NSFAS funding and after the announcement by the President, as well as to rectify incorrect messages regarding this issue, herewith a clear and detailed indication of how this process will be handled by the NWU during the registration process.
Please take note that only students who have applied, and have been admitted to the NWU, will be assisted.
- Students who have attended quintile 1-3 schools, or who are supported by SASSA or disability grants, will automatically qualify for funding, and only after completing the consent form with the necessary information, will be allowed to register without paying any fees.
- Students who have applied to NSFAS within the given timeframe in 2017, and have been admitted to the NWU, will be allowed to register upon approval of NSFAS funding. These students will be assisted for registration pending the current status of their NSFAS application.
- Students who have not applied for NSFAS and their combined household income does not exceed R350 000 per annum, need to complete and submit a consent form to authorise NSFAS to complete credit checks in order to verify household income. Incomplete consent forms will not be considered. The NWU will perform a pre-screening of the provided information before the student will be allowed to register. The student will be informed within 72 hours of the outcome of the pre-screening after the COMPLETE consent form was received. In the instance that a student has been pre-approved, such a student will be allowed to register without paying any fees upon registration. Important: Students must please submit their forms as soon as possible in order to be able to assist them within the given registration time frame - please allow for the 72 hours needed to do the pre-screening.
- If the funding application is disapproved by NSFAS (even if it was pre-approved by NWU based on the pre-screening done), the student will need to pay the minimum payable amount within 5 working days after receiving the outcome from NSFAS, otherwise the student will be de-registered immediately.
If the mentioned students do not want to wait for the pre-screening approval, they should pay the minimum payable amount upon registration and will be refunded upon final NSFAS approval.
SENIOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS
- Senior students will be allowed to register providing that they meet the minimum academic progression requirements
Students who want to register with outstanding debt will be assisted according to the following categories:
- 2017 Approved students who have signed their Loan Agreement Form (LAF)/Schedule of particulars (SOP), but the NWU has not yet received any funding from NSFAS will be allowed to register.
- 2017 Approved students who have not yet signed their LAF/SOP for some reason, need to sign their LAF/SOP urgently, but will be allowed to register (only after they have completed the documents)
- Students previously attending a quintile 1-3 school or SASSA grant holders with outstanding debt, need to be identified and confirmed upon registration in order to be allowed to register. (Please note that all institutions are still awaiting funding from the DHET in this regard.)
- Any other reasons of approved NSFAS students with outstanding debt, will be dealt with on a case-to-case basis in order to assist these students.
The NWU has no ceiling for outstanding debt for cash paying students and or other bursary holders, and will assist students during the registration per individual case on merit. Requests for special payment arrangements will be referred to the financial registration committees on each campus.
For any further inquiries, please visit your financial office on campus.
Application for the DHET 2018 fee adjustment grant
15 January 2018
Government will subsidise the fee adjustment capped at 8% for all qualifying registered students with gross family income up to R600 000 per annum in 2018. This is not a loan, but a grant. The grant will reflect as a credit on the student account once eligibility has been confirmed. NWU student account offices on each campus have already received the applicable information as well as the application form:
- Applicants who applied for NSFAS funding are not required to submit this application; they will automatically be considered.
- All students who attended Quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools in Grade 12 will automatically be considered upon verification of HEMIS data and will not be required to submit this application.
- Continuing students who have applied and qualified for the DHET Fee Adjustment Grant in 2017 are not required to submit this application; they will automatically be considered as the University will have this information.
Closing date for applications: 28 February 2018
Please send the completed form and supporting documents to the following addresses:
- Mafikeng Campus: firstname.lastname@example.org or the Financial Aid Office on campus
- Potchefstroom Campus: email@example.com or the F1 Building, Ground floor, at the Bursary Enquiries Counter on campus
- Vaal Campus: firstname.lastname@example.org or Building 24, at the Bursary Enquiries Counter on campus
NWU: 2018 first-year student registration
04 January 2018
Following the announcement by the President on free education for certain categories of prospective students, as well as recent calls in the media for such students to show up at universities and demand to be registered, the North-West University’s (NWU) official stance remains that no walk-ins will be allowed for the 2018 registration.
The NWU has space for just more than 9 200 first year students, and applications for prospective students have already closed on 30 September 2017. More than 50 000 applications have been received, and students have provisionally been accepted pending their meeting the university’s admission requirements.
As with any other university, the number of new students’ intake is determined in accordance with the agreed enrolment plan with the Department of Higher Education and Training. Only prospective students who applied to the university, met the admission requirements and have been accepted, will be allowed to register in 2018.
In a statement by Universities South Africa, it is indicated that provision has been made for students who did not previously qualify for financial aid – and who therefore did not apply for university admission in 2018, and who now qualify for free education on the basis of the recent Presidential declaration of free education, to submit their details online to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET’s) Central Applications Clearing House (CACH).
The North-West University has put in place contingency plans to deal with various situations. Any situation which could arise from confusion in this regard will be monitored, and if needed, the necessary contingency plans will be activated to ensure the safety of our staff, students and property.
24 November 2017
In view of the NWU's unitary faculty-driven model, it was prudent to revisit our current use of three corporate colours, representing each of the three campuses. Council had approved in principle the adoption of a new monolithic brand position and corporate identity at its meeting of 21 September 2017, as part of the implementation of the university's new strategy. Council also acknowledged that it is vital that the process towards the finalisation of the new brand positioning should include consultation with stakeholders and be concluded in time for implementation in 2018.
Resulting from this decision, three proposals were developed, and further engagement and consultation (including a survey) began with staff, current and prospective students, alumni and statutory bodies of the university. The University Management Committee (UMC), presented a comprehensive report to the Council's Ad Hoc Committee on Restructuring for a new primary colour that will better represent our unitary structure.
Council adopted the Ad Hoc Committee's recommendation to approve the proposal for a new brand positioning and corporate identity, with purple as the primary colour for the university. In approving the proposal, Council considered a range of issues including the results of the survey and the university's strategy. The university management will continue discussions with all stakeholders regarding the approved brand position and corporate identity to ensure buy-in and support for the new colour.
Council was also assured that funding for the implementation of the brand strategy and corporate identity is, for the bulk of the implementation, part of the marketing and communication budget. The new corporate identity will be implemented in a financially prudent way. All stakeholders can rest assured that the NWU remains a home to all who wish to study and work here, and to our many alumni whose support we continue to cherish.
16 November 2017
1. Currently funded NSFAS qualifying continuing students
All continuing students who were funded by NSFAS and signed an NSFAS contract in the 2017 academic year need not apply for 2018.
2. The following students must apply for NSFAS funding for the 2018 academic year:
- Students who were not funded by NSFAS for the 2017 academic year.
- Students who were previously funded by NSFAS before the 2017 academic year, but who are now eligible for funding due to their improved academic performance.
- Students whose family income status has changed and who now meet the NSFAS means test criteria.
Please take note that NSFAS does not fund postgraduate qualifications. The only exception is the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
NSFAS does not fund students who have already graduated from a first degree or diploma (regardless of whether the student previously received funding from NSFAS). The only exception is BA/BCom Law continuing to LLB studies and the PGCE.
The closing date for NSFAS applications is 30 November 2017. Please visit www.nsfas.org.za to apply online.
15 November 2017
The Council on Higher Education (CHE) has informed the North-West University that the accreditation outcome of the review of the LLB programme has been revised from ‘Notice of withdrawal of Accreditation’ to ‘Reaccreditation subject to meeting specified conditions.’
In reaction, the vice-chancellor of the NWU, Prof Dan Kgwadi, has expressed his satisfaction with this outcome. He also thanked all persons involved in the process, especially staff from the faculty of law.
“From the onset we had a dedicated team addressing the identified shortcomings. I am confident that the NWU will through addressing the issues as identified by the CHE, ensure that we deliver an even better LLB degree, not only to the benefit of our students, but also to that of the country.”
“Our position has always been that the strategy that we are now implementing is poised to address the concerns raised by the CHE - a strategy of positioning the NWU as a unitary institution of superior academic excellence, with a commitment to social justice.”
The CHE’s response was in reaction to the submission of an improvement plan and strategy on 6 October this year. This plan also included progress made since the review panel site visit in 2016.
During the Higher Education Quality Committee’s (HEQC) meeting on 9 November 2017, the university’s improvement plan together with other relevant documentation submitted, was reviewed. The HEQC was satisfied that the plan addressed the concerns expressed towards full accreditation, and some shortcomings within the capacity of the institution that can be remedied within a reasonable period were identified.
The HEQC requires the submission of a progress report by 30 October 2018, after which a follow-up site visit will be conducted on a date to be determined by the CHE and the institution.
The CHE states in its feedback that it is apparent from the evidence presented in the university improvement plan that most of the concerns which dealt mainly with the inequity between campuses, lack of substantive integration and low admission requirements coupled with inadequate student support, are already being addressed.
“The plan is detailed, and is supported by extensive evidence. There is also commitment to further investigate more avenues to address these concerns in the near future. It appears that the institution engaged with all the relevant stakeholders when dealing with these concerns and recommendations,” the CHE states.
The feedback further commends the efforts made by the faculty of law to hold key workshops, to review some of its law modules, to add other key modules as recommended by the HEQC, to consult its key stakeholders extensively across all campuses and to seek the necessary approval and commitment from the executive management.
The CHE also indicated that although the improvement plan commits to address issues of students and staff diversity and equity with targets and projections, the university is encouraged to explore further innovative equity strategies to fast-track attainment of the aspirations as reflected in the improvement plan.
“A detailed strategy with clear timeframes, allocation of responsibilities and resources will expedite implementation of the plan. This is however a long-term condition, as most of the impact of the interventions will only be felt in the medium to long-term period,” the CHE says.
Progress and planning process with the revision of the Language Policy and Plan
19 October 2017
The normal scheduled consultation process for the revision of the NWU Language Policy and Plan (LPP) is due to occur in 2018, during which time it is anticipated that a range of stakeholders (and structures such as faculty boards, Convocation, Senate, Council, academics, support staff, IF, student representatives etc.) will be invited to provide feedback and input.
As with the development and revision of all key policy documentation, the NWU management welcomes your input and seeks to provide opportunities in which this can be channelled to be considered. This communiqué serves to describe what work has been done to date. This is in light of key guidance provided to all universities from the Minister of Higher Education and Training, as well as arising from important discussions that occurred during this year at Senate under the guidance of the Language Policy and Plan Revision Committee (LPPRevCom).
The specific purposes of this communiqué are twofold:
- To provide feedback on the progress that had been made since June 2017 when the LPPRevCom's draft Language Policy and Plan were discussed at an extraordinary meeting of Senate, and
- to provide an overview of the planning for future processes regarding the review of these documents.
Progress since June 2017 Senate where the Language Policy and Plan (LPP) were discussed:
- The LPP was updated, based on a discussion at Senate and work done by the LPP task team, ready for submission to all identified stakeholders, to coincide with submission to faculty boards, for discussion and feedback.
- The LPP was submitted to Legal Services for vetting against South African statutory provisions.
- A language audit research project description and checklist were completed for ethics clearance application, to be discussed with the chair of the NWU Ethics Committee for Language Matters before official submission for approval.
- Drafts of an undergraduate and of a postgraduate and staff questionnaire for the language audit research project were updated, based on feedback from the LPP task team.
- Arrangements for the symposium on language in education on 31 October 2017 is in process.
Timeline for the 2017 and 2018 processes with regard to the LPP (deadlines in bold):
- Symposium on Language in Education – 31 October 2017
- Processing of information from Language in Education symposium into LPP – 30 November 2017
- Finalisation of language audit research project ethics application – mid October 2017
- Approval of language audit research project ethics application – 2017-2018 (depending on NWU Ethics Committee for Language Matters)
- Submission of questionnaires for language audit research project to Statistical Services for vetting – end October 2017
- Finalisation of questionnaires for language audit research project after feedback from Statistical Services – end November 2017
- Processing of language audit questionnaires into electronic format in readiness for electronic survey – end November 2017
- Submission of the LPP for discussion by faculty boards and all other identified stakeholders on the same date – closing date of agendas for first faculty board meetings 2018, around mid-February
- Launching of language audit electronic survey – 1 March 2018
- Deadline for feedback from faculty boards and other stakeholders to be received by the Registrar – 9 March 2018
- Closing date for language audit electronic survey – 16 March 2018
- Completion of processing of feedback by the LPP task team from stakeholders as well as from language audit electronic survey – 29 March 2018
- Update of LPP based on feedback from both stakeholders and audit – before closing date of agenda for Senate meeting in May 2018
- Penultimate draft of LPP presented to Senate – May 2018
- Redrafting of the draft LPP – before closing date for agenda of June 2018 Council meeting
- Approval of LPP by Council – June 2018
The LPP task team (whose terms of reference were approved by the University Management and the Senate in October 2016) will receive feedback as part of its drafting process and will report to Senate towards the middle of 2018 in anticipation of approval by Council at its June 2018 meeting.
This is an exciting opportunity to take our next steps as a university in the advancement of multilingualism, and we hope everyone will participate in and support the process.
Queries with regard to the process and the draft LPP can be directed to Johan Blaauw. The LPP task team, chaired by the DVC T&L, will also keep you up to date as the processes unfold.
Let’s all participate fully as the various opportunities arise to revise our Language Policy and Plan.
Changes to the 2017 academic calendar
26 July 2017
Please take note of the following new exam dates, as approved by university management:
- First opportunity exam papers currently scheduled on 17 November 2017 will be re-scheduled to be written on 27 October (previously indicated to be a “no-class” day). Other small changes to the first opportunity exam timetables might be necessary depending on students’ paper spread.
- Second opportunity exam papers scheduled for 25 November until 6 December will be rescheduled to be written in the period 23 November to 4 December.
- Papers scheduled on 22 November will be rescheduled to be written on 27 October.
- Only first opportunity exam papers scheduled for 17 November that are the same as those for contact students will move from 17 November to 27 October. Papers that are not the same as those for contact students will still be written on 17 November.
Statement by the vice-chancellor of the North-West University on student disciplinary matters
18 July 2017
Over the past few years, the management of the NWU has focused on a strategy to transform and position the NWU as a unitary institution of superior academic excellence with a commitment to social justice. This culminated in major structural changes embodied in our new statute, which we are in the process of implementing.
As chief student disciplinary officer of the NWU, I had the opportunity to consider a disciplinary matter which involved students of the university publishing comments on social media. Students on the Potchefstroom campus were accused of publishing allegedly racist remarks in May of 2017.
During a hearing on 30 May 2017, a student was found guilty and a sanction was handed down. He was suspended from the university for two years, but the sentence was suspended for the remainder of the duration of his studies. He also received the penalty of a fine of R 5 000-00. He was found guilty on two charges. The first charge was that his conduct was detrimental or could have been detrimental to the good name, order, discipline or performance of the university or any part of the university, and the second, a charge of making statements on social media amounting to discrimination in the form of racism.
A second student was charged with conduct allegedly being detrimental or which could have been detrimental to the good name, order, discipline or performance of the university or any part of the university, making statements on social media which allegedly amount to discrimination and/or hate speech, and also allegedly contravening the social media policy of the university. This student requested a postponement, and his case was scheduled for 18 July 2017.
The matter was put on hold today and the provisional suspension of the student in question was lifted, to allow the student to continue with classes.
After consulting the members of my senior management team who were available this afternoon, I have decided that the case against the second student should not proceed and should be withdrawn. This is so, because the evidence to be presented does not clearly justify the continuation of the matter.
My team and I are working hard to build a culture which is socially inclusive and cohesive, welcoming and embracing the diversity of our university community, mindful of our historical context. Incidents of this nature are against all of these and we must apologise to the staff and students of the NWU and, in fact, the public at large. It is clear that we need to do more in our mission of educating students to live and work in South Africa, in the spirit of our mission, our values and our country’s constitution.
The university management condemns any act of racism or discrimination in the strongest possible terms. It is against the ethos and values of the NWU and contradicts our efforts to work towards social justice. We shall continue to work tirelessly to build a culture of which the university community and the rest of South Africa can be proud.
Enquiries: Mr Louis Jacobs (082 901 6435)
The following senior appointments have been made as part of the restructuring process to implement a new unitary model for the NWU.
- Deputy Vice-Chancellors (DVCs): Assignable Functions and Campus Operations & Executive Director
- Executive deans
Acting executive dean, deputy deans, acting deputy deans and acting faculty coordinators
Urgent warning - Cyber attack
14 May 2017
A global cyber ransom attack spread to South Africa on Saturday, 13 May 2017. At least 99 countries have been hit and hospitals were shut down in the United Kingdom. It is described as the biggest cyber attack in history. This is serious!
IT management and specialists had an emergency meeting on Saturday afternoon and as a preventative measure, immediately started patching all servers and will continue until the end of the weekend, which means that a number of services will be restarted without warning.
IT will force a Windows update on the machines of users who are not on the latest update, as soon as they connect (predominantly on Monday morning). This action might cause delays in the update service due to the intensity of upgrade activity.
All users are urgently warned not to open any unknown emails or documents. IT should be contacted in case of doubt.
Read more on the attack: http://www.mailguard.com.au/blog/global-cyber-attack-wannacry-ransomware-creates-havoc
NWU users will be kept informed.
Accreditation of the NWU’s LLB programme
18 April 2017
During 2016 there was a national review process of all LLB programmes offered at all universities in South Africa. On 30 March 2017 the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) approved the findings of the National Reviews Committee (NRC) with regard to the LLB programme at the NWU, namely that the LLB programme be put on notice of withdrawal of accreditation. This is also applicable to three other universities. All other universities were accredited with conditions.
It must be emphasised that this does not mean that the HEQC has withdrawn the accreditation status of the LLB or that the future withdrawal is inevitable. Not at all.
The NRC has identified issues which it deems to be of a serious nature, and if the NWU does not address them adequately, the HEQC may withdraw the accreditation status of the programme. In summary, the reasons for placing the programme on notice of withdrawal include:
- There is significant evidence of inequity between the two sites of delivery in Potchefstroom and Mahikeng in terms of access; provision of curriculum delivery, teaching, learning and assessment; the profiles of staff in respect of seniority, qualifications and scholarly reputation; the quality assurance of the programme; articulation between the sites; infrastructure and other learning resources. Institutional restructuring aimed at addressing such issues has not yet manifested itself in the Faculty of Law.
- There is a lack of substantive integration, in the programme as a whole as well as on the Potchefstroom Campus, between students of different racial groups, and a sense of alienation felt by students of particular groups. At Potchefstroom, a group of mainly black students receiving tuition through the medium of interpreting from Afrikaans to English, felt “accommodated” rather than fully accepted and integrated in the academic space.
- Throughout the programme relatively low admission requirements are not supplemented with adequate student support.
The NWU recognises that these matters need to be attended to urgently and will engage constructively with the HEQC review findings in order to develop an appropriate improvement plan and strategy by 6 October 2017. During the strategy development process which the NWU engaged in recently, most of these issues were recognised.
The NWU Council adopted a new strategy in November 2015, which aims to establish a new structure and operating model. Our strategy is to build a unitary university with aligned programmes and equity of provision, resources and student experience. Council has approved a new structure and the Minister of Higher Education and Training has approved a new Statute that gives effect to this unitary structure. A main feature of this new structure is that a single executive dean will be responsible for a faculty which spans all three campuses of the NWU. This will ensure that programmes are fully aligned and managed across all campuses.
As part of the self-evaluation process, the NWU drafted a provisional improvement plan and implementation of certain objectives therein has already taken place. The university management will lend its full support to the faculty in its development and implementation of the final improvement plan. The NWU sees the national review process as an opportunity to improve on the quality of the current programme.
It must be emphasised that the NWU will continue to offer the LLB degree, which is still accredited. Students are therefore encouraged to apply for admission for the 2018 academic year.
On the positive side, it should be noted that the report confirmed that the NWU LLB programme meets the requirements for a qualification at NQF exit level 8. As far as the required graduate attributes with regard to knowledge, skills and applied competence are concerned, the following findings were made:
The panel is satisfied that the LLB programme at the Potchefstroom and at the Mafikeng campuses appropriately imparts to students a comprehensive and sound knowledge and understanding of South African law and its associated values and of its historical background. It is also satisfied that all of the basic areas of law, as listed in the LLB Standard, have been adequately covered.
It is recommended, however, that the inclusion of more non-law modules should be investigated and that as many as possible students at the Potchefstroom Campus should be exposed to real/actual clients in the Legal Practice module. It is also recommended that the module Street Law should be offered at both Potchefstroom and Mafikeng as electives to ensure that students are adequately exposed to social justice issues and law as an instrument to effect change in society. At Potchefstroom, the exposure of students to real/actual clients should also help students to internalise the notion and demands of transformative constitutionalism. The report also noted that although identical assessments were not required in terms of the NWU model up to now (the same external moderators were utilised), the introduction of the same summative assessments should receive urgent attention under the new unitary faculty.
The panel is satisfied that sufficient attention is paid to teaching and learning and assessment to the inculcation of critical thinking skills in the various modules. The inclusion of a required Research Essay for all final-year students are commended. Although the report commends the fact that Language Skills in Legal Context is taught in six semester modules in the first three years of the LLB programme, these modules should consistently be offered by lecturers within the Faculty of Law across campuses. The report also notes that a variety of assessments should be employed and that assignments, that require independent critical thinking, should be widely used even though there are challenges pertaining to workload, plagiarism and so forth.
- Applied competences
The panel is satisfied that the conceptualisation and overall design of the programme sufficiently address the areas of applied competence listed in the LLB Standard.
I have every confidence that with a concerted effort, the LLB programme will be accredited once the structural changes have been effected and the improvement plan implemented.
I will meet with all law faculty staff and students during the course of this week and after these initial discussions, they will constantly be kept abreast of any developments in this regard.
Prof Dan Kgwadi, Vice-Chancellor of the NWU
New Statute of the North-West University published in the Government Gazette
28 March 2017
The new statute of the North-West University (NWU) was published in the Government Gazette on Friday 24 March 2017 and therefore promulgated and brought into effect.
This was the culmination of three years' work which first saw a new strategy and then a new structure adopted by the NWU Council. This formed the basis of the new statute, which has been approved by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande.
The statute prescribes, inter alia, how the NWU is to be governed, who the office bearers are, how employees are to be appointed, remunerated and disciplined, the role of trade unions, student affairs and the conferring of honorary degrees and awards.
The promulgation of the statute enables the newly approved structure to be fully implemented.
Image left: Prof Dan Kgwadi (Vice-Chancellor of the NWU) receives the statute from Prof Marlene Verhoef (Institutional Registrar)
Progress regarding NSFAS applications
1 February 2017
A meeting involving members of the EXCO of Universities South Africa (USAf), the chairperson of the NSFAS Board and representatives of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) was convened on Saturday, 28 January 2017 to discuss the backlogs that had developed in the processing of financial aid applications made by first-time entering students and returning students.
A serious concern was expressed about the fact that some academically deserving students who were awaiting news from NSFAS might lose their places in academic programmes and/or residences to fee-paying students.
NSFAS is reasonably confident that it will complete the allocation of financial aid packages to first-time entering students within six days, in other words by this coming Friday, 3 February 2017.
Returning students who have previously been assisted by NSFAS, and are meeting the funding conditions stipulated by NSFAS, can proceed with registration.
You are once again assured that the North-West University (NWU) is in constant dialogue with NSFAS and is committed to ensure that as many students as possible can be assisted to register. USAf is also addressing outstanding issues with NSFAS collectively on behalf of all universities in South Africa.
Even though it must be stressed that the NWU has to remain within the amount allocated to us by NSFAS, the university remains committed to assist as far as possible academically deserving students.
You will be kept informed of any new developments.
31 January 2017
Media freedom and the people’s right to freedom of speech are central pillars of our democracy. The online media channels, in particular, present us with opportunities to communicate and disseminate information to our stakeholders and the public. The media industry, across the world, is experiencing a proliferation of fake online websites and social media accounts whose objective is to spread misinformation and damage the reputation of organisations and/or persons. We continue to monitor the media landscape and coverage of the NWU across all media channels and believe that we are well positioned to detect any fake sites purporting to belong to or represent the NWU. We call upon staff and students to report any suspected fake news sites or accounts to Mr Louis Jacobs, Director: Corporate Communication at email@example.com or 018 299 4918.
The NWU has approved several social media accounts which serve as information and knowledge-sharing platforms among staff and students. Most interaction and views shared via the NWU online platforms are constructive and comply with the university’s rules and codes of conduct. However, there are still a few individuals, within and outside the university, who are continuously spreading misinformation about the NWU on social media. The university will institute legal action against these individuals to ensure that they do not succeed in tarnishing the NWU brand. We remain steadfast in ensuring that the NWU remains one of the higher education institutions whose students and graduates enjoy respect in South Africa and globally.
Although the NWU encourages robust debate and dialogue among students and staff regarding issues affecting the entire university community, the expression of views must not advocate or incite violence or cause harm to other members of the NWU community. Students and staff must desist from promoting and supporting views or statements aimed at creating hatred of other groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.
Apart from all other existing channels, staff and students are encouraged to make use of the official social media platforms for accurate information.
NSFAS 2017 application status
25 January 2017
The new academic year is off to a good start with enthusiastic students registering on all three of the NWU’s campuses. As on 25 January more than 6 000 first-years have already enrolled as part of the total of close to 12 000 NWU students that have already registered so far. The NWU’s target for first-year enrolments for 2017 is 8 894.
The NWU is in constant dialogue with NSFAS and is committed to ensure that as many students as possible can be assisted to register.
The new NSFAS centred model, in line with the Minister of Higher Education and Training’s commitment to financially assist more needy students, including the missing middle, became effective in January 2017. For 2017 NSFAS allocated R270 871 000, excluding assistance to final year students, to the NWU.
All applications were done online to NSFAS and NSFAS was responsible for selection and approval of new students.
According to the latest reports received on 12 Jan 2017 from NSFAS, 8 699 students who intend to study at the NWU, applied to them either electronically or submitted a hard copy application. This includes all potential new first-year students and senior students that did not receive NSFAS funding in 2016. Students that did receive NSFAS funding in 2016 are eligible for funding in 2017 if they met the academic criteria (pass 50% of their modules) and are within the N+2 study year rule.
A total of 5 209 NSFAS supported first-year students applied to study at the NWU, of those 3 044 were admitted, with more than 2 700 senior students who receive NSFAS support that applied.
Assisting as many as possible needy students is a priority. This has already been seen in 2016. Due to the introduction of the First Time Entrant (FTE)fund in 2016, an additional 1 794 new students were assisted in 2016. This caused more senior students to be in the system for 2017. In the past the NWU used a 70/30 split where 70% of funding was allocated to senior students and 30% to first year students. When NSFAS did their selection and approval for 2017, they used an 80/20 split. The large number of FTE students in the system forced the NWU to an 80/20 split, meaning NSFAS provided less funding for first-year students in 2017 to be assisted.
Included in the list of already approved students are 99 senior students that did not receive NSFAS funding in prior years. Of the 99 we have identified 34 students with outstanding debt and we have requested NSFAS to investigate alternative sources to assist those students. We are awaiting their final approval in this regard.
We have submitted the results of senior students to NSFAS and await the final list of the approved senior students.
There is also a channel for academically deserving students who did not receive NSFAS funding and are not able to pay the minimum required registration fees. Their cases are handled on merit by financial registration committees on each of the NWU’s three campuses. The committees aim to help students to register as long as they can make sufficient arrangements to pay the registration fees as soon as possible.
We thank all our students and staff for your patience and assistance in ensuring a successful registration process. We will keep you informed about any NSFAS developments.
For the latest update from NSFAS please click here
Missing middle fee adjustment grant
24 January 2017
The Department of Higher Education training fee adjustment grant - 2017
11 January 2017
Following our previous communique on the increase of tuition fees for 2017, this clarifies the application process for the missing middle fee adjustment grant.
Government will pay the fee increase capped at 8% for all qualifying registered students with a gross combined family income up to R600 000 per annum in 2017. This is a grant and will not have to be repaid by qualifying students. The grant will only cover tuition fees and accommodation provided by universities.
- Only South African citizens and citizens with permanent South African residence permits, studying towards an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification in 2017.
- The applicant and direct family (mother, father, spouse or legal guardians) who have a GROSS combined family income of R600 000 or less per annum before tax deductions.
Who qualifies, but does not have to apply for the grant?
The following students will not have to apply for the grant, as they will automatically be considered:
- Applicants who applied for NSFAS funding.
- All students who attended Quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools in Grade 12.
Who do not qualify and can't apply for the grant?
Students who are recipients of bursaries and scholarships that cover their tuition and accommodation fees can’t apply for the grant, as their bursaries or scholarships have to cover the full percentage fee adjustment.
All other students will have to apply for the fee adjustment grant.
How does one apply?
- All applications will have to be submitted on the relevant application form obtainable from the NWU website (click here) or at the financial support offices on the respective campuses. Applications have already opened, and the closing date is 28 February 2017 for the first semester and 30 August 2017 for students who have to register for the second semester.
- Applications can be electronically submitted to the following email addresses:
- Mafikeng Campus: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Potchefstroom Campus: email@example.com
- Vaal Triangle Campus: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The grant will reflect on the student account once the student has been verified as a qualifying grant recipient. The outcome of the application will be known within the first quarter of 2017.
- All applications must include certified copies of IDs of the parents/spouses and/or legal guardians, as well as the student. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
- Parents, spouses and legal guardians will be requested to acknowledge that they understand that personal information will be requested and provided to third parties who will assist the university with verifying income and that their signature to the application constitutes express written consent.
- All parties (father/mother/spouse/legal guardians/student) must complete and sign the application.
- Students whose applications are unsuccessful may appeal within 14 days of the outcome of the decision by completing an appeal form that will be available on the university's website.
- The financial sustainability of universities is at risk if students do not pay their fees and outstanding debt.
- As in the past, all students are required to pay registration and minimum payable fees upon registration. Only NSFAS-approved students and students funded by other approved sponsors are exempted from these payments. Documented proof will have to be submitted.
- Academically deserving students who are struggling to pay their registration fees and/or outstanding debt must engage with the university's Finance Office to agree upon a repayment plan. During the registration process assistance will be available on campuses.
- Universities have been requested to manage student debt through fair and transparent debt management policies and processes in order to ensure that all outstanding student debt is recovered within a reasonable and acceptable period.
Please direct any enquiries to:
018 389 2330 / 2372
018 299 2052 / 2046 / 2045
VAAL TRIANGLE CAMPUS:
016 910 3157
Tuition fees and registration 2017
18 November 2016
During the NWU Council meeting on 17 November 2016, the proposed university budget for 2017, based on an in-depth analysis of the university’s financial position, was approved. As part of the budget, an annual tuition and residence fee increase of 8% was also approved. In principle this means that all NSFAS-qualifying students, as well as the “missing middle” students (i.e. those students whose households earn above the NSFAS threshold but less than R600 000 per year), will experience no fee increase for 2017. The approved increase will be paid by government to the university in the form of a grant (so-called gap funding), and will reflect as a credit on these students’ accounts. Students with full-cost bursaries and students with a household income that exceeds R600 000, will not qualify for the gap funding. As in the past, all students are required to pay registration and minimum payable fees upon registration. Only NSFAS-approved students and students funded by other approved sponsors are exempt from these payments, and will have to provide documentation as proof during registration.
1. Assistance during the registration process
1.1 Students with bursaries (other than approved NSFAS students)
Students who have been granted bursaries (other than approved NSFAS students as per the centralised application process), must submit corroborative documentation of the particular bursary during registration. Where an outstanding balance is payable for the previous year, students will be allowed to register if the bursary providers have undertaken in writing to pay for the outstanding amount as well.
1.2 Students with bank loans and Eduloan (Fundi)
Corroborative documentation of loans must be submitted during registration. Where an outstanding balance is payable for the previous year, students will be allowed to register if the loan makes provision for payment of the outstanding amount as well.
1.3 Individual student cases
As in the past, there will be formal structures, such as the registration committee (on which the Campus Student Representative Councils will also be represented), on each of the NWU’s three campuses, to decide about individual cases. Each case will be considered on merit, taking into account the availability of funds. Only students who have not been able to register for whatever financial reason will be referred to these structures. The aim is to enable as many academically deserving and financially needy students as possible to register in 2017.
The assessment of these individual cases will include among others the consideration of the academic performance of the student and instances where only a few modules are still outstanding for completion of a qualification.
When a student qualifies for a merit bursary for an amount that will cover at least the first payment, that student will be allowed to register.
The Realpay instalment option will also be available as an alternative method to pay fees by means of a signed debit order over a period of time. Registration fees are however still payable. Please note that terms and conditions are applicable.
2. Outstanding debt
The NWU makes a serious appeal to parents and students to make urgent arrangements for the payment of all outstanding fees. This is to ensure that students can continue their studies and receive their degrees upon completion.
It will not be possible for all students to register, notwithstanding all the resources and processes mentioned above. Students who - despite best effort to resolve their issues - go through the whole process without finding solutions, may still not be able to register.
3. "Missing middle" students
Students whose households earn above the NSFAS threshold, but who earn less than R600 000 per year, will be requested to apply for the gap funding (to cover only the fee increase), by means of an official application process at the NWU.
This application process for missing middle students will be communicated in due course in a separate communique. In the meantime please note that the following documentation must be supplied as supporting evidence of household income upon application: salary advices of parents/guardians, certified copies of their IDs, together with a form indicating consent to enable the university to conduct a credit check, if necessary.
4. International students
International students, including SADC students, will not qualify for the fee-adjustment grant.
We understand our students’ concerns about unaffordable tuition fees, but the NWU, like any other institution, needs to maintain financial sustainability in order to continue with its core business and to remain a national asset. This core business entails producing ground-breaking research and rendering quality education – while shaping the lives of our students – to ensure that we deliver well-rounded graduates.
The NWU acknowledges the initiatives of government to absorb the fee increment for the poor and the missing middle for 2017 and supports the effort to make higher education progressively affordable in future.
Apart from this, management also remains committed to assist our students, and would like to encourage them and their parents/guardians to approach us to ensure that all avenues are explored to enable students to register and continue with their studies.
The management of the university wishes all our stakeholders a wonderful festive season and prosperous 2017.
Please direct any enquiries to:
018 389 2020/ 2478
018 299 2667/ 2668/ 2669/ 2670/ 2671/ 2672/ 2673
VAAL TRIANGLE CAMPUS:
016 910 3155/ 3530