Minister intervenes in campus crisis

2010-03-24 00:00

THE ministry of Higher Education will be appointing an independent investigation team tasked with looking into the problems at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), and proposing a solution to minister Blade Nzimande.

While Nzimande’s head of communications, Ranjeni Munusamy, said all parties have voiced their willingness to co-operate in this investigation, it is not likely that the news will do much to allay the fears of non-striking students, who are worried about losing out on valuable lecture time.

They say that a shortened second term, due to the 2010 World Cup, and the protest, has given them little time to complete their syllabus and many fear they will not be able to catch up on all the work this year.

Samantha Moodley, a first-year drama student, said she is angry that non-striking students cannot attend lectures and that protests have turned violent.

“My parents pay lots of money for my studies. Now I’m denied an education because of a small group of selfish people. How will we make up the lost time when the term has been shortened?” she said.

Moodley said that even though management is trying to resolve the matter so lectures can continue, there is no guarantee of this.

“While these people run around destroying the campus, students like me lose out on valuable lessons.”

Engineering student Nash Pillay said he feared for his life after he watched a group of students go on a rampage at the Steve Biko campus last week.

“I agree that they have issues that must be addressed, but there are proper channels for this,” he said.

The Student Representative Council, management and high-level officials, deployed by Nzimande to help calm matters at the university, spent most of yesterday locked in meetings.

The university decided to suspend all academic activities until April 6, the beginning of the new term.

Munusamy said the investigation team should be appointed in the next few days, but it is not clear how quickly they are likely to reach a resolution.

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