Red tape still a bind for students

AGAINST ALL ODDS: Jeffrey Choma pictured outside CNS, is one of the few students successfully registered for Wits WiFi services. Photo: Luke Matthews

AGAINST ALL ODDS: Jeffrey Choma pictured outside CNS, is one of the few students successfully registered for Wits WiFi services.
Photo: Luke Matthews

By Lameez Omarjee and Rofhiwa Madzena

Despite the introduction of online registration to make the experience “more convenient”, Witsies still complain that administrative processes are tedious and discouraging.

Claiming back money

Sinoxolo Msomi, 3rd year BEconSci, said claiming money back from Wits “just took too long”. It took a month to resolve her issue with the fees office.“Everyone I would talk to would refer me to someone else.  They first told me I could claim back money via telephone and just give my bank details but then I found out I had to fill in a form.” She speculated that the cause of the delay was due to the fact that the sum of money was large.

To claim money back, students are required to get a stamped bank statement and verification from their parents or the person or entity that paid their fees, as well as certified copies of their IDs. Students say this means a great deal of running around.

Lengthy waiting periods

Students also complained about the time it took for their cell phones and tablets to be registered for WiFi access on campus.  Rosina Mabapa, 3rd year BA, said: “I don’t think it’s amazing, [and] it could be better”. Xolani Hadebe, acting director at Computer and  Network Services (CNS) said: “I’m aware that the process of registering online for WiFi access is a tedious one so we are phasing that out.”  Students will in future be able to gain access to WiFi using their login details.

Carol Crosley, deputy registrar of enrolment, acknowledged that students are often sent from “pillar to post” because staff did  not feel empowered to address issues or make decisions about problems that did not fall within their capacity.  But she said staff referred students to people who were better able to solve their problems.

The registration process

Online registration was introduced as a pilot project this year, in order to give students the “freedom and flexibility to register from home”, said Crosley.  Some students found it a great improvement.

Bambi Stewart, 3rd year BA, said, “I feel that it’s [online registration] much better now, especially the registration process for BA students because I felt it was the most tedious process ever. I managed to do it in two hours whereas in first year it took me two days, but everything is a bit better now.”

Although online registration was effective in reducing queues, it would not always be possible to remove human interaction entirely.

But other students still complained about having to come to campus to reregister manually because their subject choices did not show when they registered online.

Crosley said that, although online registration was effective in reducing queues, it would not always be possible to remove human interaction entirely.  Many students still needed career guidance and help with subject choices.

Service survey facilities

Electronic survey facilities are available to measure service delivery at admin points like the Student Enrolment Centre, the Fees Office and some faculties. However, only a small number of students fill in these surveys, according to Crosley.

The majority of students approached by Wits Vuvuzela were either unaware of the survey facilities or were unsure about what they were when they saw them on campus.

International students’ registration

International students have also complained about the services at the Wits International Office.Manager Gita Patel said the process became lengthy when documents had to be sent through to Home Affairs for verification. She added that, because students had to wait for Home Affairs, the office “allows students to register with acknowledgement of receipt [from Home Affairs]”.

Patel also said that it was up to students to follow up with the office to make sure their registration was on track.

This article is featured in the Wits Vuvuzela

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