Recently it was announced that minister of higher education, science and technology Blade Nzimande had launched a probe into Unisa to look into concerns about the institution. Today Unisa has issued a public reply to this.

“The University of South Africa (Unisa) welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology to appoint an independent Ministerial Task Team (MTT) for a six-month period to conduct a formal review of Unisa with a strategic focus on its institutional mandate and scope, and to analyse its capacity, systems and organisational structure in relation to its mandate and mission as a large open distance learning institution in the South African context,” the announcement reads.

2020 has been a challenging year for Unisa. Late examination results caused registration for the first semester to be delayed three times, COVID-19 resulted in all new examinations needing to be written online, and release of these were then also delayed.

Examination woes and moving deadlines don’t seem to be the cause of the probe, however. Instead the university’s large size and future seem to be the focus instead.

“Premised on the acknowledgement that Unisa is the largest open distance learning institution in Africa and the longest-standing dedicated distance education university in the world, enrolling nearly a third of South African students in the public university system, the University acknowledges and accepts the appointment of the MTT. This matter was previously a subject of discussion between the Unisa Council and the Minister,” Unisa writes.

The release of this announcement from the university, 27th July, also coincides with the planned date for Unisa to release the first semester examination results. Speaking to students and looking at replies on places like Twitter reveal that many are still waiting for their marks despite today being the deadline.

With registration for the second semester closing on 5th August students can only hope that they get their results well before then. Whether the Ministerial Task Team will be looking into this matter or others such as critical website crashes remains to be seen.