Unisa Rejects Claims That Qualifications Are Fake

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Unisa and its Student Representative Council have denounced allegations made by a former member of the Economic Freedom Fighters. This comes during the university's graduation ceremonies, which kicked off last week.

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The National Student Representative Council (NSRC) of the University of South Africa (Unisa) have rejected the "damnatory" statements made by former political leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Abantu Batho Congress, Mandisa Mashego. 

Mashego made the allegations that qualifications obtained from Unisa are "fake" and insinuated that "Unisa is not a legitimate university."

In a statement released as a response to these claims, the NSRC clearly states that they "reject these utterances with the highest contempt and disgust." 

According to the NSRC, Mashego's allegations paint the institution in a bad light, which could affect their success for the future, and also diminishes the hard work of the students enrolled. 

"These utterances are damnatory and have possible pernicious effects to the futures of Unisa graduates. Studying through Unisa require the highest forms of hard work, discipline and digital resources for both learning and for final assessments, which are mostly invigilated," reads the statement. 

Graduates from Unisa have earned their qualifications through "their own determination and commitment to their studies," adds the NSRC.

The group continued, stating that it is "nonsensical" to cast aside the qualifications of the university, and label them as fake, "considering the hard work that Unisa students put in to obtain their qualifications, which include defying systematic odds and challenges that they face daily."

Unisa is the largest open distance learning institution in Africa, and enrolls nearly one-third of all South African students, majority of which are female and/or students of colour, particularly Black students. 

The NSRC said: 

The university's student demographics now closely approximate those of the society, where more than 73% of Unisa students are Black. Additionally, most of these students, especially at undergraduate level, are over 65% female and considering the social realities of our society, women are already structurally excluded from many economic opportunities or [are] under-remunerated. The assertions here mentioned therefore have the potential to further disadvantage Black & Women graduates

Mashego's negative statements could also have a potential effect on these graduates when it comes time for them to job search with qualifications deemed as "fake", says the NSRC, adding that most of these students come from low-income backgrounds and are dependent on higher education qualifications to "open doors of economic opportunities for them." 

The University is currently conducting graduation ceremonies that commenced on 22 March, ending on 9 May 2023, which "will see the highest graduate output compared to all Universities in the country," says the NSRC. 

The NSRC has called on the university to "provide a clear position on the matter and take graduates, students, the labour sector and society entirely into confidence on the quality of Unisa qualifications."


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A group of students graduating.

Unisa has officially kicked off its graduation season. Graduating from tertiary education is a huge achievement for students to look forward to and celebrate.

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