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Alumnus interview: Mark Pilgrim

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Mark Pilgrim as the host of South Africa's Power of 10 TV game showIn the first of a series of interviews with Unisa alumni, Matshelane Mamabolo interviewed Mark Pilgrim and asked him about his experiences whilst studying at Unisa:

1. Tell us about yourself?

I am a radio and television presenter that has been entertaining millions of South Africans for the last 18 years.

I've had radio shows on 5FM, KFM and HIGHVELD and also hosted numerous shows on MNET, SABC2 and eTV including Big Brother and the Power of 10.

2. Describe your most enjoyable moment as a Unisa student?

I started off at a university in Johannesburg and moved to UNISA in my second year.

Because of the discipline I had in studying every single evening (I was working in the day) my marks went up by over 25%. UNISA also allowed me to study at my own pace as finances allowed. I graduated with a B.Com (Industrial Psychology).

3. Describe your least enjoyable moment as a Unisa student?

Sometimes forcing myself to stick to my study regime and study on weekends, even though I just wanted to go out and party.

4. How has your experience as a student at Unisa subsequently helped to set you apart?

It once again boils down to discipline. I committed time every day to study and I would do it even on the days I really didn't feel like it.

5. Your best advice for current students?

People are finding it more and more difficult to get jobs as each year passes. Dedicate yourself to your studies as it's the backbone of your future.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 20:15
 

Mogoeng Mogeong enters the fray...well, almost

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Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has given a calculated view of the recent stand-off between Julius Malema’s EFF and Sasco at Unisa.

Mogoeng told the media, students and members of faculty at the University of Limpopo’s Turfloop Campus after he delivered the second Onkgopotse Tiro memorial lecture that he would he wants everyone to coexist peacefully.

‘’I can, like any other leader in the country, say it would be wonderful if we could coexist peacefully, be we politicians or students…but I can’t take it any further than that.’’

Mogoeng added that the judiciary could only consider what happened at Unisa fully if the matter is brought to the courts for adjudication. Malema addressed students at that University without incident three days later.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 21:05
 

Unisa plays political referee

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Julius Malema Unisa pulled the plug on a planned Academic and Professional Staff Association (Apsa) meeting, scheduled to be held at the ZK Matthews Hall, due to concerns over the meeting turning political. Julius Malama was scheduled to address the meeting, but the university cancelled the event less than 24 hours before it was slated to begin.

In a way, Unisa's decision turned out to be prophetic, as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and ANC supporters clashed outside the hall. Both sides accused each other of instigating the violence in which at least 3 people were injured.

Phenyo Butale from the Freedom of Expression Institute stated that cancelling an event that presented an opportunity for debate amounted to silencing participants in the discussion. But Unisa spokesman Martin Ramotshela stated that the decision had nothing to do with Mr. Malema's appearance and the decision was made purely in the interest of securing the safety of university property, staff and students.

 

 

Carte Blanche exposé on Unisa

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Some of Unisa's chickens have finally come to roost as Carte Blanche aired a segment on a number of assignment and exam marking bungles at Unisa.

Students have been complaining about sub-standard assignment and exam marking for a very long time, without any response or action from Unisa.

Unisa also makes the process for querying your marks as difficult as possible, by requiring upfront payments for a remark and by taking up to 6 months to return an exam script.

The university has responded (you can read the response here) and has tried to give the impression that they are completely unaware of the problem. If Unisa is in fact unaware of the problem, it would indicate that the university is even more out of touch with the student body than previously imagined.

The exposé confirms what any student can tell you: Unisa's quality control in terms of exam and assignment marking is seriously lacking and has negatively prejudiced many students in the past.

Perhaps Unisa will finally sit up and take notice now that their incompetence has been highlighted, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

You can watch the Carte Blanche episode here.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 13:48
 

More leaked exam papers

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In what seems to be becoming an annual event, exam papers were again leaked this semester.

According to an IOL news article, the affected subjects have been postponed until such time as new papers could be set for the subjects.

One would think that Unisa would have implemented extra security measures after last year's fiasco, but it seems the institution has scant regard for its own reputation.

Approximately 12 000 students have been affected by this latest blunder.

 

Postal strike affecting students?

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As the South African Post Office's strike continues, reports of undelivered study materials continue to come in. In addition, tutorial letters and assignment feedback that is normally delivered via the post will probably also be affected.

Most students who have access to the internet can at least see their marks for multiple choice assignments, but those who had to deliver written assignments will most likely not receive their feedback in time for exams.

Another problem, of course, is that students with limited access to the internet will have to incur further costs for printing out materials at an internet cafe.

The reasons for the strike seem almost farcical, with a synopsis being provided by IOL here. The gist seems to be that between 400 and 500 post office employees are striking because they believe money is owed to them, when in fact they were just being duped by a "fraudster". The strike is unprotected and the SAPO has obtained an interdict against the strike, but that hasn't brought an end to the illegal action.

Have you been affected by the strike? Let us know in the forums.

 


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