There is a creeping culture of academic disregard on several of our campuses when it comes to the intellectual demands made on students in the academy. Not too long ago there was a report at the University of Fort Hare that some students were demanding that they be compensated with marks and be allowed to pass given the destructive impact of the union strike on the teaching calendar. This notion that marks can be handed out in the absence of any academic assessment is not new at all. Those who lived through the student activism of the 1980s would remember a common refrain: “Pass one, pass all.”

It was even funnier than watching British Prime Minister Teresa May recently attempt a Mr Bean-like dance routine on African soil. Up there in the north at one of our institutions of higher learning, students in an examination room exploded with rage because the test they sat down to write on the philosophy of education was “too difficult”. The darkish recording on social media shows students screaming and papers flying into the air as an adult voice tries to calm the rebellion with the appellative “comrades!” This was of course embarrassing to citizens of the University of Limpopo and shortly thereafter there was an attempted explanation on social media: it was the wrong examination paper. You do not need much brainpower to figure out that this made no sense. In any civilised place all a student needs to do in such a case is raise a hand and point out the “wrong-test-for-the-course” mistake and the issue would be immediately resolved. The university leadership would later confirm i...

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