The University of South Africa (Unisa) has granted blanket extensions on assignments and examinations, pushing the dates of both back extensively in the first semester of 2020.

While not explicitly stated by Unisa, the reason for this is the various delays which have plagued the institution for months now. The release of the October / November 2019 exam results caused delays in registrations this year. Because of this the final date for registrations was pushed back three separate times.

As we stated when we covered the story this kind of change has a knock on effect where students have less time to study and thus submit assignments and prepare for exams. Maybe realising this, Unisa has announced the delay of both.

Below you’ll find the statements from Unisa regarding both assignments and examinations.

Assignments: 

“The university has approved that colleges may extend assignment due dates for the first semester. Each college, in consultation with academic departments, has determined the new extended assignment due dates for each module. Updated assignment due dates will be available on myUnisa from 21 February 2020. (Please note that the due dates for online modules and practical examinations remain unchanged). Although we have extended the due dates for assignments, we urge all students who are able, to submit assignments as soon as possible so that they reach the university even before the extended due dates.”

Examinations: 

“The university has deferred the starting date of the first semester examinations from 11 May 2020 to 18 May 2020. The last day of examinations will be 29 June 2020. The new provisional timetable will be available on myUnisa on 26 February 2020. The timetable remains provisional, as it only becomes final when the examination admissions are processed by 20 April 2020.”

Speaking to Unisa students we have found out that this information was shared by way of an email to their university-issued accounts, but some of them did not receive it.

In terms of how far back the dates were moved, it seems to depend on the specific module(s) that the students are enrolled in. We’ve seen some assignment dates delayed by more than a month, but exams by a maximum of a week. For some students dates may not have changed at all.

While this is a band aid on a larger problem at Unisa, it is a necessary evil to ensure that all students have a fair amount of time to complete their work and pass their modules.

Hopefully history does not repeat itself yet again and there are no delays come semester two of 2020.