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CAM's To Be Implemented As Final Mark

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Dear Rector/Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorious and the University of the Western Cape's Executive Management,

The University of the Western Cape's various considerations as an approach to the end-of-year final examinations, included that of implementing the Continuous Assessment Marks ('CAM') as Final Results. The other options were that of the current two options, namely, the November & January Examination Periods. This is a plea to reconsider the decision that was made to not include CAMs as an option.

As was the case in previous years, CAMs were used as a final mark ('the old system'). Stated below are various considerations to be looked at in order to reconsider the final decision.

Some may think the suggestion to use our CAM (with the added extra 10%) as a replacement for exams is drastic and impractical, however is it not drastic and impractical to write under such circumstances:

  1. The postponement of exams, not once, but twice, has caused a major disruption in students' preparation for exams.
  2. The postponement of exams has caused many students to forfeit potential vacation work and/ or any other career fulfilling opportunities provided, as well as detrimentally affect final year students.
  3. Worst of all, considering the ongoing situation, it is in actual fact 'drastic and impractical' to expect students to write exams when surrounded by any sort of potential disruption and possible (emotional, mental and physical) harm that could affect them.
  4. How can it be expected that students write in an environment surrounded by private security forces/SAPS with their weapons - is that meant to make us feel safe? It is a reminder to students that there is a possibility of disruption and so forth. Picture this: a student is stressed out for their exam, and before going in, they see the private security forces/SAPS, which does affect multiple students. Respectfully, does that not correspond with you, management?
  5. How can we be assured that our vehicles will not be subjected to vandalism at all? Should this occur, which we have seen the extraordinary occur, will the University of the Western Cape compensate for damages to vehicles or students' property - or are you going to instead enforce your 'Park at your own risk' rule? This is blatantly inconsiderate.
  6. How can you expect students to prepare for exams starting next week 9 November 2015, whereas just last week, when we received our revised timetables, on that very same day of receipt of same, we were informed a few hours later that the exams would be further postponed. How can we be assured that the exams will not be postponed AGAIN later this week as a result of other unforeseen incidents? Example: 'November exams will now be postponed, and the student body has to write in January.' - How can it be expected that students be able to study under such circumstances?
  7. Some staff members are leaving on sabbatical (one known law lecturer emailed to notify us of his absence in this respect), which leads to lecturers having to take up the responsibility of marking those papers, which could add on to their workload. We, as students, do not get the opportunity to check our exam papers. What guarantee do we have that a staff member will mark the papers to the best of their ability? They will be exhausted and worn out. This could detrimentally affect our final marks. It is not fair to have to put our staff under such immense pressure for these two exam periods, they will practically have no holiday which is far from fair. Did you consider that they too, have lives outside of university, and also have holiday plans? Will they be compensated for holidays that they have already booked? Equal treatment of staff needs to be established the same with students, as they suffer along with us, the students. You have made it clear that there are options available to students, so please do consider the staff too.
  8. Exams should be made available to be viewed by students in a controlled manner to make sure that their script was marked correctly, if this is the case that staff will end up with more scripts to mark. This is far from an unreasonable request.
  9. If CAM's are "not a true reflection of a student's ability" then why is it implemented in the first place?

We urge you to remodel or amend the 'old system' of implementing CAMs, to make sure that it is beneficial to all, such as:

  • The suggestion of the additional 10%, 8%, 6% and 4% not be considered.
  • A 'cut-off' point of those who qualify to have their CAM implemented as their final mark be: 50-55% and above.
  • To clarify: students with CAMs lower than 55% will have to write the examinations in either November/January examination period.
  • The current CAM remains as is, and will not be changed, as provided in the first point.
  • If a student is unsatisfied with their CAM being used, they can register to write the exam, regardless of whether their CAM is 75% and above.
  • To clarify: students can register online and accept their CAMs as their final mark or register to write the exam instead, should they wish to do so.
  • Online assessments or take-home tests for those who do not qualify for the 55% rule or those who wish to still write an assessment to improve their CAM(s).
  • Faculties with only one practical / task that makes up their CAM, will have to address this and arrange for an online test or assessment to contribute to that CAM, in order to level the playing field for all faculties for this to be implemented.
  • The option of making CAMs weigh 70% and the final examination 30% across all faculties.

Our CAM is clear indication and representation of our ability, capability and understanding of the work done over course of the semester and year. It not only saves time, but also ensures the safety of all students and staff included, by avoiding any potential threats that may arise.

The implementation of this system will also alleviate some of the pressure on the administration and staff to get everything completed and processed before 2016's registrations.

It is respectfully submitted that management show better leadership skills in respect of handling the recent events - it can be said that a lot of this could be avoided.

  • Respectfully, had Management allowed for the student body's involvement before making final decisions regarding exams, then this petition would not necessarily have been started. Once again, the SRC with the inclusion of Management, shows that they make decisions on their own, and like with the decision to postpone exams for a second time, did not necessarily allow for the involvement of the student body at large, once again - whom it affects the most per se. Why not allow for the involvement of the student body in decision making, to make suggestions and for opinions to be raised? It is noted that in cases like these, SRC and Management are in the positions that they are for a reason, but why could they not allow for active student involvement? With reference to the University of Cape Town's Rector/Vice-Chancellor, Dr Max Price, who has engaged with students on a personal level, in person and outside at times, which has lead to the success of their decisions made, being accepted by their student body. Respectfully, our Rector has only engaged with the SRC/Staff, again, which affects the entire student body.
  • It is bitterly disappointing that the Executive, Senate and SRC are able to make big decisions on our behalf but do not allow for our involvement.
  • A future consideration for the Rector and management would be to allow for staff/student involvement in future. Note: a handful of emails to students does not allow for the involvement of the majority of the student body.

We urge you to strongly reconsider the points listed above.


Student Body of the University of the Western Cape

* ATTENTION STUDENTS: Please sign the petition with your FULL NAME (as it appears on your MYUWC Gmail email address), STUDENT NUMBER and MYUWC GMAIL EMAIL ADDRESS. This is vital in respect of the signatures.

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