Students at the University of South Africa (Unisa) who wrote exams in the first semester of 2019 may need to wait even longer before they learn about their marks.

The reasons for this delay, according to an email we received, are twofold: a campus shutdown which occurred in early July, and a crucial Unisa staff member being ill:

“Due to the two week Unisa Main Campus shut down (1 – 13 July 2019), the examination department will need a bit of extra time to capture your results. All scripts are marked and only need to be captured on the system,” the email reads, “Moreover, we are still awaiting feedback from [the] external examiner who is still recovering from her medical procedure. Exit level modules’ results (Level 7) cannot be accepted as valid without the external moderator’s feedback.”

At this point it is worth mentioning that this feedback was provided to students in the COM3701 module, but we have learned from many other students not involved with this course that they are also waiting for their results.

Even in this official tweet from Unisa about Mandela Day, you can see many frustrated students anxiously awaiting to know how they performed months ago in the April / May exam period.

A big part of that collective worry is registration for semester two of 2019. It opened again for students awaiting for results on 16th July, and will close again come 8th August.

Returning to that email again, and Unisa is cutting things very close here: “We are hoping that all the books will be finalized by 29 July, and results released by 31 July.”

If these dates hold true, students will have just over a week to register for the next semester. This is a tough position to be in given the complexity of registration, especially around money and funding for studies. This isn’t helped by the fact that Unisa’s registration portal, and website as a whole, has a tendency to crash when under heavy load, which is expected once the exam marks are finally released.

The final hurdle here is the course work and assignments which students are expected to do. The later they register for their modules the less time they have to study, with some important assignments being due in August, leaving precious little time to register, pay for registration, collect study material, cover coursework, and finally complete assignments.

Pushing all of this back also has a worrying knock-on effect come later this year for the October / November exam period. If you’re a student who can only register in August, you will then have just three months to complete your modules before the exams start again.

All we can really suggest to those students is to keep checking for their results daily. Pre-selecting modules and getting funds in place to pay for registration once open is also a good idea.