Standing in long queues to register to study at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) will soon become a thing of the past for many students, following the launch of the university’s online enrolment system.
Brand South Africa reporter
The announcement was made by the institution’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Ahmed Bawa on 9 May 2011.
The system is designed to enable students to independently register for academic courses via the university’s website.
“I believe this technology will help students ‘beat the queue’ and will enable staff to handle the admission and registration processes with greater ease,” said Bawa.
“Registration at universities around the country is often seen as a particularly cumbersome and tiresome task, for both students and staff.”
It is expected that the new technology will reduce time spent registering by at least one-third, Bawa added.
For the next two years the online system will operate alongside the traditional process involving paperwork. “In order to facilitate a smooth transition from manual web registration to online, we are rolling out this project over a number of years, and expect it to be fully implemented by 2013,” he said.
Implementation of the new technology is aimed at improving the quality of student experience, a promise Bawa made when he was appointed as DUT’s head in September 2010. “I am confident that this online registration system will contribute significantly to achieving this objective.”
Web registration in South Africa
The start of the academic year in 2011 saw a number of local universities introducing e-registration to reduce or cut out the queuing process altogether.
The University of Free State implemented their online registration process for senior students at the start of 2011. At the time, the university’s Prof Niel Viljoen pointed out that they were part of the first batch of South African universities to offer students the facility to do the entire registration process online themselves.
“The advantage of this new turn in the registration process at the university is that students can register from the comfort of their homes or even from any place in the world,” Viljoen added.
The South Africa Norway Tertiary Education Development pumped R369 000 (US$54.6 000) into Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape to help it develop its online registration system. The institution piloted their system at the start of the academic year as well.
Fort Hare said it takes between two and 15 minutes to register on their system. The fully fledged online set-up is expected to replace most of the manual processing as early as the next academic year.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal also introduced its online scheme at the start of 2011, and it’s currently running alongside manual registrations.
But it seems that registering online is a bit slow on the uptake at institutions like the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Johannesburg. Despite their e-registration systems being up-and-running before the start of 2011 academic year, snaking queues were a feature at their campuses.
In contrast, web registration has become extremely popular and highly successful at the University of South Africa. Application takes a minimum of two weeks to process and prospective students can track the status of their application at any stage.
In South Africa, disadvantaged students’ lack of access to the internet could stand in the way of a total transition to e-registration.
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