Police called to quell Pinetown students’ protest
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Durban - Public order police officers descended on the Elangeni TVET college in Pinetown on Friday where students protested over the lack of resources at the institution and for NSFAS funding.
It came after the rector of the college, Zodwa Aryetey addressed some of the concerns of the students who among other things complained about the lack of printing facilities, no laptops for students and not having a maths literacy lecturer.
Aryetey said they were following the process of having a full supplement of maths literacy lectures across their campuses.
She explained that some began last week and it could be that students at Pinetown were referring to a specific level lecturer for this subject.
Aryetey said there had been staggered registration at colleges and some of these lectures that the students were referring to began on Monday.
“If there is no lecturer for a subject, arrangements are made to have someone fill in, some maths lectures have started, the process we have to follow is still underway,” she said.
She said TVET students across the board were currently writing supplementary exams and she noted the concerns of the Pinetown students when it came to exams and maths literacy.
“It’s unfair about exams and the campus (Pinetown) was going to organise how students will write keeping in mind the issue about maths literacy.
“We understand that we can’t test students on something they don’t know,” said Aryetey.
She said the laptop issue was complicated as students had been told it would not be all them that would receive these.
“Minister Blade Nzimande made an announcement that the company to distribute these had been appointed.
“We explained to students that these would be for 2021 students.
“We can’t just give them out.
“At the moment the college has started looking at lectures on whether they are computer literate going into online learning and we have started training them,” said Aryetey.
She said when it came to NSFAS, students had not been excluded as perceived.
“Students didn’t get the allowance at the end of February.
“Communication from NSFAS is that we have been allocated R96 million and of that 40% was accommodation allowance.
“If I’m not mistaken this money is between R1 500 and R2 100.
“We have eight campuses and 10 000 students across the board so when we distribute this money we have to think of new students joining next semester which will see the amount drop as we look at going rates for rent,” she said.
Aryetey said while there was a protest at the Pinetown campus students were able to write exams today.
“Those who haven’t written today, there’s nothing we can do about it.
“I addressed them this morning; they did not want to hear me explain.
“Those protesting will go home and senior management will come together and see what happens on Monday”.
SAPS were at the scene and earlier rubber bullets were heard being fired and students were dispersed with a water cannon.
They are however still gathered despite these efforts.