PMB students join national student shutdown
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Durban - STUDENTS from various tertiary institutions in Pietermaritzburg were expected to march to the Legislature in solidarity with the national students’ shutdown on Monday.
The shutdown comes after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande failed to respond to a list of 15 demands in a letter written by protesting students in Pretoria on Wednesday where he was given until Friday to respond.
In the letter written by the SA Union of Students (Saus), IOL reported that the demands included financial clearance of historical debt for all students to “ensure smooth registration” as happened at the University of the Western Cape.
Saus is also demanding immediate provision of post-graduate funding, including advanced diploma qualifications to be part of the funding framework.
The students’ union has told Nzimande in its letter that if the 15 demands were either not met or responded to by his office by Friday they would be left with no option but to declare a national shutdown of all the country’s 26 universities from today.
The students also want the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allocations for first-time students to be unblocked for registration while the government resolved funding matters.
Pietermaritzburg march organiser Kwanele Mkhize said UMgungundlovu TVET College, Unisa, UKZN and DUT students would be part of the protest.
“The march starts at 8am, we will meet at Msunduzi campus TVET College and head to the KZN legislature,” he said.
Mkhize explained that their demands included that all academically deserving and returning students be allowed to register and that all first years be fully funded for the duration of the qualifications.
“There must be a curriculum review and integration policy between universities, universities of technology and TVET Colleges. TVET College students must be paid transport money, accommodation and meal allowances as a matter of urgency. Government must invest in infrastructure development in the TVET sector to address the accommodation crisis so that students have residences that are conducive for academic performance,” he said.
Mkhize said they were also calling for student villages to be built to accommodate TVET students.
“The department must ensure a fair and equitable distribution of data and devices (laptops) for all students in institutions of higher learning particularly the TVET sector and the installation of high speed wi-fi in all campuses and residents. Government must address the shortage of lecturers in the TVET Sector”.