WATCH: Students shutdown Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
Pretoria - Students at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University have shutdown the university’s entrance with burning tyres demanding that management save the academic year.
Frustrated students said the university has been failing to honour its promise to distribute gadgets and data to students in need, and enable online teaching and learning in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They put up placards on the fence, wood on the ground and burnt tyres to ensure that those who worked at the university could not leave or enter the institution until management showed a serious concern to deal with their frustration.
They said it cannot be that a university that deals in medicine cannot continue providing the education that produces the doctors and nurses at the time when Covid-19 is proving that the country needs more of these medical practitioners.
President of the Student Representative Council, Lereto Mokheranyana, said after numerous unkept promises, it has become clear to students that management has been playing with their future.
“This is not the first time we had a demonstration but what is common throughout these demonstrations is what the students have been raising time and time again.
“Mainly the issue of online teaching and learning, which goes hand in hand with the gadgets but the university has been postponing since the first date which was April.
“They had made a commitment that by the end of April students would have commenced with online learning but subsequent to that, that date was moved to May 11.
“From there they moved the date again to June 1 and made the same commitment that by then we would have commenced with the learning but that did not happen.
“To date, July 20, we still don’t have gadgets even after management promised us that we would have them come this time.
"What perpetuates this issue is that there would be no communication between the university and students, and there is no accountability on the side of management.”
The police arrived to monitor the situation but students remained firm that they would not be moved or swayed.
Students said the university needed to understand that they were running a small medical institution with just over 6 000 students and could not fail to the point that not a single laptop has been handed out.
Mokheranyana said the university was also asked to prioritise students who come from poor backgrounds and do not have environments suitable for studying, and also do not have laptops.