Uncivil outage darkens exam

28 November 2005

Nerves are stretch to the limit in the lead-up to any exam. But lecturer in private law Mohamed Paleker had to do a spot of quick thinking (Initiative 101) when an altogether unforeseen disaster befell his civil procedures exam.

Yes, the lights went out down in the Kramer Building. It was that fateful Friday afternoon when a malfunction at Koeberg sent the Mother City into a tailspin.

The disruption kept the fire department busy freeing people trapped in lifts and extinguishing several small fires caused by emergency generators burning out. In the Kramer Building, the situation was far from extinguished.

Calling in a band of trusty helpers, Paleker managed to get desks, chairs, new exam books, white slips into the Kramer quad – everything to make an exam complete.

"It was quite a feat to set up a makeshift examination venue for 140 students in an hour," he said.

New exam books were handed out to eradicate the possibility of any dishonesty. Because the quad is a difficult venue to police, additional law staff were brought in to invigilate.

When deputy registrar Dr Jim McNamara arrived to check the scene, he remarked: "While the city scrambled to cope with the outage, there was only serenity and studious concentration at the makeshift exam venue."

He called it one of "the more remarkable displays of teamwork and 'going above and beyond' that I have seen here".

Hands together for the staff who helped and settled the stressed students - and especially those who cleared the desks afterwards.

Sterling results all round.

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