UCT deploys ‘exam tent’ to thwart disruptions

14 November 2017 - 10:53 By Petru Saal

While the release of the fees commission report has tongues wagging‚ so too has the erection of an enormous tent at the University of Cape Town (UCT)‚ in which students will write their final examinations‚ starting on Wednesday.

UCT’s decision to transform its rugby fields has been scoffed at on social media‚ but university spokesperson Elijah Moholola said: “The plan is designed to ensure exams are concluded in a safe‚ quiet and calm atmosphere.”

He said access to the venue and surrounding areas was strictly controlled.

“The executive [has] previously expressed regret that security must be deployed to such an extent on campus to secure the exam venue. Staff and students should expect increased visibility of security measures around the exam venue. In the prevailing context‚ there is unfortunately no alternative‚” Moholola said.

Seipati Tshabalala tweeted: “I refuse to write my **Final** exams in a tent with dogs patrolling me! I refuse to carry a student card for random spot checks of my identity. Apartheid is supposedly over so I refuse to be subjected to this rubbish in 2017!!”

“I don’t know whether to cry or laugh at UCT’s idea of writing exams at the rugby fields. Somehow I just believe writing an exam in a tent is not as safe‚ quiet and calm as the management would claim. Let’s wait and see‚” posted Khangwelo Matodzi.

Meanwhile‚ authorities at other universities in the city have not commented on the UCT tent‚ but say their campuses are currently peaceful.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology spokesperson Lauren Kansley said that for the past two weeks‚ the campus had been relatively quiet‚ following a tumultuous period of student protests.

“For the entire month of November‚ we have been incident-free‚ and we haven’t had the need to increase our security‚” said Kansley. “We have maintained private security on campus.”

University of the Western Cape spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said the new student representative council had promised a peaceful end to the academic year.

“The new SRC committed to a peaceful exam period during their inauguration last week‚” said Tyhalibongo. “We have no extra security. However‚ we have plans in place‚ should any disruptions‚ protests or vandalism flare up.”