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Misthry v University of Kwazulu-Natal (3518/2008) [2014] ZAKZPHC 55

Misthry v University of Kwazulu-Natal (3518/2008) [2014] ZAKZPHC 55

14th November 2014


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  • Misthry v University of Kwazulu-Natal (3518/2008) [2014] ZAKZPHC 55
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[1] The applicant was a student at the respondent university (“the university”) reading for his Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering (“BSc Eng”) degree. In the final year of academic study he needed to complete and pass a module described as the Electronic Design Project course (“the module”). The module is usually undertaken during the second semester of the academic year. During his final year in 2006 he took the module but failed. In 2007 he repeated the module but failed again.

[2] During February 2008 the applicant commenced review proceedings against the university seeking an Order that:


“the respondent’s decision to fail the applicant in a semester course in which he was tested on a project titled: ‘A Dynamically Reconfigurable Adaptive Viterbi Decoder’ in the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering in or about December 2007, is hereby reviewed and set aside and the matter is referred to the respondent for reconsideration of such result alternatively an order substituting such result with the result that the applicant passed the said course.”

[3] In simple language the applicant, in an area of study chosen by him, had to design a hardware component to resolve a particular issue and demonstrate that it actually worked. During the semester the course content required him to submit two interim reports on his progress towards completion and a final report (referred to as a dissertation) which is marked. That is then followed by an examination. The final assessment of a student’s competence is assessed in three components: an assessment of the student’s writing skills, an assessment of his or her oral skills and an assessment of the degree of accomplishment of the project as a whole.



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