DUT ready to open doors

2014-02-06 00:00

STUDENTS of the Durban University of Technology (DUT) will return for lectures on Monday.

The 10-day strike ended yesterday after vice-chancellor and principal Professor Ahmed Bawa reached an agreement with the Student Representative Council.

Registration is also now open and students who were forced to vacate their rooms at residences are allowed to return. The SRC also committed towards ensuring that there will be no violence and intimidation once the academic calendar recommences and residences re-open.

“All students who still need to register must do so from [today]. If students cannot make it [today], they can also register on Friday. The online registration process is still open for the benefit of students and their families,” the university said.

Professor Bawa thanked the students, their families and the staff for their support and understanding over the last two weeks.

“DUT has once again had a challenging start to the year and I am confident that we have made significant strides with our SRC in restoring an environment that will be conducive to teaching and learning. I also appreciated the recent visit by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande on Monday. His presence on campus has played an important role in creating these conditions,” Bawa added.

The students were unhappy about the new proposed National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and they took it to the streets and their campuses demanding that their voices be heard.

The SRC said students were not happy with the NSFAS online registration process and that those students studying towards obtaining their Bachelor of Technology (BTech) qualification were not going to be funded this year.

On Monday, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimade met with Bawa and the SRC.

According to the DUT’s statement, NSFAS has made it clear to the SRC and the university that BTech degree students will not receive financial aid.

But the university said the students who were studying towards BTech degrees in 2013 and those who received funding support to finish their degrees, will be allowed to register this year, provided they can complete their BTech degrees in 2014. And this group of students will be registered for tuition only, so that they can complete their studies this year and will have to sign loan agreement with DUT.

The university will also pursue the matter of financial aid for students currently studying BTech degrees in scarce skills areas.

• The university said 1 160 students are still waiting to hear the outcome of their appeals for funding and DUT has since raised this issue with.

• The university has also committed to distribute 2 600 NSFAS packages to first-year, first-time applicants in 2014.

• Some 800 students are yet to be packaged and pressure will be placed on NSFAS to complete these.

• The meal allowance for students, which is currently facilitated by DUT’s e-wallet and swiping card system, will remain in place for the first semester. From the second semester onwards, the sBux system (which is preferred by NSFAS) will be implemented.

• The book allowance is at R1 500.

• NSFAS will fund an additional R1 500, so that students can use this allowance to purchase a NSFAS approved tablet device from a NSFAS approved supplier. This will be administered via the sBux system. Approximately 9 000 NSFAS funded students at DUT will benefit from this pilot project.

• Six faculties at DUT will publish a revised academic calendar that will be implemented as from next Monday.

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