STUDENTS have laid a complaint against the Wits International Relations department about their marks, saying that they are not being assessed properly following their lecturer’s placement on special leave.

Dr Lord Mawuko was placed on “special leave” pending an investigation about four weeks ago. Mawuko’s third year International Relations class has been merged with another class taught by Dr David Hornsby.

His former students have complained that Mawuko’s class is behind those of Hornsby’s, making it difficult for them to catch up.

Hornsby confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela that the classes have merged and acknowledged that Mawuko’s classes were a week behind. However, he said Mawuko’s class had a catch up session after the lecturer was put on special leave.

“With the departure of one lecturer the course hasn’t changed and the course is no different to how it has been run”

Student Concerns

Innocentia Kgaphola, 3rd year International Relations, said the department is “having difficulties coordinating the class. Why aren’t they taking responsibility that the standards are not the same?”

The student’s biggest concern was that due to Mawuko’s special leave their work will be assessed by lecturers whom they have never interacted with and do not know.

Third year student Nqobile Radebe said: “They have been bringing different people to lecture us. We have not been fairly assessed. We don’t get the marks we deserve.”

Mawuko had also been responsible for receiving presentation topic submissions from the third year International Relations class. However, due to being placed on special leave he could not be present and assess the presentations.

Instead, the presentations were overseen by Dr Mopeli Moshoeshoe.

Third year International Relations student Luzi Maposa said in a letter to the department that Moshoeshoe told students that he was “merely there to observe”.  But Moshoeshoe wrote comments on their presentations and Hornsby, who is also the course co-ordinator, gave students their marks.

Maposa wrote in his letter that the student’s “main issue” was that while Hornsby marked their presentations, he did not see them first hand and “all but relied on bullet points which he requested from each group, which did not reflect the image of the presentation since they were merely assistance tools.”

“The stand-in lecturer [Moshoeshoe], who did not even ask what topic each group was presenting on, cannot paint a clear reflection of the quality that went into the presentation since it omits all that was elaborated through speech and illustrations on the board,” continued Maposa’s letter.

Kgaphola said the situation has left students feeling confused and unfairly treated by the department.

“Nobody explained what was happening. Nobody explained why Lord [Mavuko] was put on special leave. It’s just a mess, we don’t know what’s happening,” Kgaphola said.

Hornsby responds

However, Hornsby denies this and said students are not just assessed by their presentation; they still have essays, exam and a participatory mark. Hornsby said he had consulted with Mawuko about the students’ assessments.

Hornsby said that immediately after the presentations he and Moshoeshoe had a meeting and Moshoeshoe recommended marks.

Hornsby said he doesn’t understand why there is confusion amongst the students as there was a talk last week to discuss Mawuko’s absence and marks would be assessed.

Head of department Prof Gilbert Khadiagala said the students complaints have been addressed by the department.

“We told the students that we are going to have an impartial person to deal with the marks. We have done everything we can; the final person to deal with the marks will be the external examiner”.

Additional Resouces

Wits Vuvuzela April 26 2013: Oh my Lord, wenzeni?