Johannesburg — The Apply now/Khetha Career Guidance Campaign seems to be bearing positive results as the process for first year students to register for the 2013 academic year saw fewer late applications and less hiccups.
This is according to Deputy Higher Education and Training Minister, Mduduzi Manana, who spoke exclusively to SAnews on Monday.
Manana visited the University of Johannesburg on Monday to evaluate and assess the impact of the campaign and met with the university management; visited the registration venues and also interacted with the prospective students
The campaign, which aims to encourage learners to apply early for admission at post-school learning institutions in South Africa, was launched in 2012 by the Higher Education and Training Department.
The launch of the campaign was informed by the unfortunate death of Gloria Sekwena, a mother of a prospective undergraduate student in 2012. She lost her life in a stampede related to the process of late applications for last-minute spaces at the University of Johannesburg.
"Our visit today was to assess the late application as well as the registration process in an attempt to make a proper assessment on whether the Apply Now Campaign has made an impact.
"Our findings during these visits are very positive - there are no long queues. This is a result of the university's stance not to allow walk-ins," said Manana, referring to late registrations.
He added that the department was injecting money into awareness campaigns that encouraged young people to apply for tertiary education on time and choose correct career paths and make sound decisions about their future.
He attributed this year's achievements, such as the smooth registration process, to the department working hand-in-glove with different universities.
"The efforts of the department in raising awareness and encouraging young people to apply on time as well as the strides made by the university to try and mitigate last year's challenges and backlogs that led to the loss of life, is appreciated," Manana said.
He explained that the department had also encouraged universities to set up systems that would complement the Apply Now Campaign. "The University of Johannesburg was one of the universities that heeded to our call.... they've set up the system. Everything is running smoothly."
He said those prospective students that came to register late where directed to the university's online system.
The Deputy Minister however noted that they were anticipating administrative glitches but not major problems.
He said he had conducted visits to universities across the country at the beginning of the academic year. "As a department, we wanted to be with the universities and engage with prospective students. We want to be nearby so that as and when problems arise, we are here to provide sound interventions."
Last week, Manana visited the University of Vhenda, where everything was also running smoothly.
Next week, he is expected to visit the University of Fort Hare, followed by Walter Sisulu University and end the visit at the University of Zululand.
He said the visits were mainly targeted at historically disadvantaged institutions because "we believe they carry a full burden due to geographical location and they are mostly rural institutions. We want to come closer to them so that we are able to lift up the problems".