July 28, 2017

News:

CUT paramedic students urged to enrol at other institutions

As Diploma programme is phased out . . . 

The Central University of Technology (CUT) is urging students affected by the discontinuation of the Emergency Medical Care (EMC) Diploma programme to apply for enrollment at other institutions and complete their studies as the university was prepared to pay for the studies.

The programme was discontinued about three years ago by the Professional Board for Emergency Care which operates under the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to make way for a degree programme. About 60 students that were already enrolled in the programme were allowed to complete their studies.

In response to written questions submitted by The Weekly, CUT spokesperson Dan Maritz said all institutions offering the programme across the country were affected by the move and had to implement urgent measures to wind up.

“HPCSA decided that the diploma programme in EMC would be phased out and replaced by the new four-year degree programme,” said Maritz.

“As a result, CUT and all universities offering this programme have been instructed to discontinue it. However, CUT remains the only institution still in the phase-out stage. The HPCSA register closes in December 2017.

Our current third year students will still register upon completion this year. However, it is important to put this matter into proper context; in 2017 CUT had to deregister students who had failed their modules because they would not otherwise complete their EMC programme as scheduled,” he added.

The spokesperson noted this had to be done because if the students were to complete their studies in 2018, they would not be able to register as EMC practitioners.

The university then undertook to assist the affected students financially to allow them to complete their studies.

About 13 students were affected by the deregistration exercise and according to the university, they were all given letters indicating its intention to support them.

Some students who spoke to this newspaper said they expected their money to be paid back to their accounts to allow them to enroll elsewhere but the university disputed this, pointing out that the bursaries would only be paid on condition that the students applied for placement at any institution of choice to complete their programmes or apply for different academic programmes at CUT or any other institution.

The other option was for the students to advise the university of their placement so that money will be transferred to that particular institution.

“I may add that this is a standard practice with any bursary or financial support is given to students. However, I hasten to add that some students who didn’t take advantage of this offer are expecting the university to deposit tuition funds or these bursary funds into their accounts while they are not registered to any university or institution.

“They are demanding the money to be paid into their account and then apply to an institution of their choice. No bursary programe or university will ever grant public money to unregistered students and use it at their own discretion. As CUT, we have not entered into such an arrangement with students,” explained Maritz.

The university said of the affected students, two have enrolled at CUT for environmental sciences and financial systems respectively. Another student had registered at the University of Free State.

A further three have enrolled at Netcare for the two-year Emergency Care Technician Programme. Others have not registered or applied to any institution of which CUT is aware.

“We urge them to do so in order to pursue their studies, as all our students remain our number one priority; hence our intention to support their education at no cost to them,” Maritz noted.

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