03/12/2017 11:44 SAST | Updated 03/12/2017 11:52 SAST

Wits Rubbishes Claims That A White Student Was Passed Despite Failing

Some 29 black students claim a white student was given a pass despite failing her primary care course.

Adam Habib (R) speaks during a press conference in  2016.
AFP/Getty Images
Adam Habib (R) speaks during a press conference in 2016.

Wits University has rubbished claims that it gave a white student special treatment after claims emerged that she was given a pass despite failing a primary care course.

Some 27 black students this week claimed that the white female failed the six-week course and that black students were not afforded the same opportunity.

The university's senior management said it was committed to "transformation and reforming institutional culture".

"Despite these institutionalised efforts, there are often public remarks about our failures to engage in transformation by stakeholders who do not engage on the basis of the facts," the institution said.

Wits vice-chancellor professor Adam Habib has denied the claims, Timeslive reported.

He said the student had achieved the second-highest mark, but that an "administrative error" meant her mark had been incorrectly transcribed.

"She was not given a privilege. She passed; they [the others] failed," Habib said.

The institution could not confirm claims made by final-year student, Mtwakazi Bula, that 90 out of the 95 final-year medical students at the university who failed one or more of their seven compulsory modules this year were black African.

This is not the first time the university has been accused of altering marks to accommodate some students.

In July, Wits Civil Engineering Lecturer Dr Precious Biyela suggested exam irregularities at the university. Biyela said 19 second year civil engineering students had been allowed to write a special examination regardless of having failed a supplementary exam earlier in the year.

She has accused the university of granting this special exam because of a particular student who was believed to have been afforded many privileges that go against university policies. One being, the opportunity to do two courses in the same diagonal, when most students have to opt to do one course on a full- time basis and another part-time.