The University of South Africa (Unisa) has announced that it will not be enforcing traditional venue-based examinations, where students were previously required to physically write in a crowded hall. This affects the May / June examination period for the school’s first semester of 2020.

As expected this change is due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has forced South Africa into a lockdown that will continue for the remainder of April. While Unisa is a distance learning institution, venue-based examinations were required to cap off each semester.

Instead Unisa has announced “alternative assessment formats” which will take the place of paper-based exams. As for what these alternatives are, students and other interested parties will need to wait even longer for more information.

“Your lecturers will confirm on myUnisa the type of examination you will write for each module. This information will be available on myUnisa early in May 2020. While the May/June 2020 examinations will take a different format, we remind you that Unisa has a zero tolerance for any form of plagiarism or examination dishonesty,” Unisa writes.

While some may prefer to write their exams at home in a different capacity, there is the issue of internet and computer access, something many students are struggling with. While Unisa does encourage that students study from home, the school’s various campuses around the country usually provide the facilities to complete those studies as part of tuition.

With the campuses inaccessible during this time, even this online assessment solution is not ideal. For those in that situation Unisa has another alternative:

“While we wish to encourage all students to make use of the non-venue based May/June exam opportunity, students who are unable to complete this assessment will automatically be deferred to the October/November 2020 examination period without penalty or additional cost,” the statement reads.

Read Unisa’s full statement about this decision here.