UCT hosted the largest number of parents yet - 3 200 in total - at this year's orientation programme for parents of first-year students.
Each year the university hosts two parent orientation sessions - one for Cape Town parents, which was held on Saturday 1 February, and a mirror session for out-of-town parents, held on Monday 3 February. Saturday's programme saw 1 300 people attending, while 1 900 were present at Monday's programme.
The bumper group of out-of-town parents had to be accommodated in two venues - Jameson Hall and the Beattie lecture theatre - and speakers swapped venues to address them.
A range of activities, information stalls and tours were available so parents could familiarise themselves with the university and better understand the environment their children will experience over the next few years.
Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price emphasised parents' special responsibility towards students.
"You have to keep the lines of communication open, so that they can come to you when they are struggling and you can encourage them to seek help."
Price also reassured the audience that at least 75% of them would return to Jameson Hall when their children graduated.
UCT registrar Hugh Amoore had three messages for parents. Firstly, that their sons and daughters should be ready to start working when classes start; secondly, that it was possible some students may come off the (proverbial) rails; and, lastly, that parents have an important role in keeping abreast of what's happening in their children's lives.
Ndumiso Mamba from Swaziland, whose eldest daughter Ndzelani will be studying psychology, found the information at parent orientation helpful.
"It puts me in the picture of what's going on," he said.
Mamba believes it's important for Ndzelani to acclimatise and be ready from the get-go "...because if she falls behind in the first few weeks, it's difficult to catch up again."
Story by Abigail Calata. Image by Michael Hammond.
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