In an unsurprising turn of events the University of South Africa (Unisa) has once again extended the final day for new and returning students to register for the first semester of 2020.

The closing date for registration and first payment was originally 24th January. This was pushed back to 1st February, then to 7th February.

Now, assuming no further extensions, the final day will be 17th February.

Unlike the last two times that this has happened, where we have had to speculate about why the delays have occured, Unisa has actually pinpointed three reasons in its announced:

  • The recent strike at all Unisa campuses
  • In order not to disadvantage any student
  • The NSFAS walk-in application deadline which has been extended to 14 February 2020.

With this third delay Unisa has asked that students take note of certain realities of the situation if they have not registered yet. The most obvious one is that a late registration means a shorter semester, and less time to complete important assignments and study for exams.

Delivery of physical study material will be late. While this material is always available online, some students depend on these deliveries due to a lack of internet access.

The last point to note from Unisa’s announcement is this line: “the due date for compulsory assignments will be communicated shortly”. Assignment dates are set before the semester even begins and irrespective of any delays. We’re not sure right now if this lines means that the dates will be moved. Extensions on compulsory assignments have been granted in the past when registration dates have similarly been moved.

While not addressed in the announcement we will have to wait and see how all these delays impact the examination period of May / June 2020. In previous semester with delays the exams are sometimes pushed back or students are given the choice to write on the original days, or at a later time.