The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) on Friday said the registration of new students had been completed and no walk-ins or further registrations for the first semester would be considered.
Following President Jacob Zuma's announcement last month that tertiary education at state institutions will be provided free to poor and working class students, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) encouraged students who qualify to go to universities of their choice to register.
Even though the closing date for registering for undergraduate studies at the university was September 30, 2017, there have been fears of students turning up on Friday to attempt walk-in registrations. Some of the students did not apply in time because they did not think they could afford tertiary studies.
On Friday, Wits Registrar Carol Crosley said the university received 56 901 applications for first year enrolments for the 2018 academic year and could only accommodate 5 664 students.
She said Wits was growing its post-graduate student numbers, as part of its 2022 strategy. It has received 22 727 applications for post-graduate studies. In total, the university has received 79 628 applications for the 2018 academic year.
Crosely said Wits can only enrol a maximum of 36 400 full-time students.
“Wits university has doubled its student numbers in the last two decades, and the university’s enrolment plan is approved by the Department of Higher Education and Training,” Crosely said.
“Over enrolment has a significant impact on the academic integrity of the university’s academic programme. It stretches the university’s human resources capacity (affecting work loads of lecturers, teaching and administrative staff); and impacts on infrastructure as the university only has a defined number of teaching venues.”
At the main entrance to Wits campus access was restricted by guards. However, there was no sign of any students attempt walk in registration.