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UCT: 'Operating like a Business'

11 September 2012, 10:20

I am a second year student at this University considered to be the top in Africa. Currently, UCT is #103 in world University rankings this is according to the Times Higher Education ratings.

This is commendable, however these rankings remain controversial and some universities choose not to participate in them because of their tendency to be bias.

Allow me to be opinionated and generalise a few issues. UCT increases student fees each year and this is done for it to achieve its 3% surplus so to be able to self-sustain itself and minimise its risks.

However, this 3% is in most cases exceeded; in 2011 the university made a surplus of R86 000 000. This is a  of 4.6% way more than the intended. This follows a surplus of R24 000 000 and R33 000 000 in 2009 /2010 respectively.

This again I assume is because of the increase in student fees. Well, and because of donations and contributions by organisations, companies and UCT supporters. And from the “researches” UCT takes pride to be leading in Africa with.

I as a student would expect and Institution that makes such surpluses to be innovative and sophisticated in and outside of lecture theatres. Currently we have a UCT that has overcrowding in lecture venues.

 UCT takes many students (currently 26 000+) but it does not have enough space to contain them. This makes me wonder if UCT again does this because it wants to achieve these worlds’ rankings.

Some faculties have departments that are not afraid to tell students that “we are broke and we can’t provide tutors”.  We all carry the same student cards, we need the same equal treatment.

It happened to me at the Politics department. That was a jaw-dropper; how can they tell me they’re broke. NSFAS and my sponsor paid for me in full and I expect to get the level of service equated to my R86 000+ fees I paid.If I told them I was broke, I would have never been admitted.

The bus service we use “Jammie Shuttle” is not efficient. Students who have no cars have to wait for more than 20min in shuttle stops for these buses to arrive.

The food at res continues to be bad. Every day you listen to students complaining about the quality of food and how it does not equate to the fees they paid.

Medical, Dance, Music and Art school continue to be excluded from the UCT community.

 Music school students complain about “space” and “instruments” they use.

 A student can use a room with music instruments for 2 hours then give the room to another. Almost all of them say 2 hours is not enough but there is nothing they can do about it because UCT again takes more students than it has space form them.

Arts and Dance student also complain about how they are excluded from the UCT upper campus community. The Dance School communication is outdated. Its only Music School students who don’t know the word “Vula” at UCT.

They get their announcements via notice boards; I mean who still does tha?t. Their timetables conflicts with the timetables at upper campus yet the Music departments still makes it compulsory to choose an elective at Upper. Every day they have to go up and down with the inefficient shuttle.

Unlike students at upper, Arts students at Hidding, Music and Dance at lower do not have “food courts” close to them.  At Hiddingh, they don’t even have a proper Jammie Shuttle stop.

We need a UCT SRC that will not only take artists outside UCT but also take our own talented musicians and artists from Music and Arts School for “UCT THURSDAYS”  

On campus, students struggle to get parking space and the available shuttle stops are small and we all cram in them when it rains.

I expected an Institution like UCT to give me a world class service that in their prospectus I was promised. I expect a UCT that will forester inclusivity and ensure that all campuses are integrated and students get the same equal treatment.

In all UCT policies a lot of things have been promised but now UCT operates like a bureaucracy and does not really implement them.

We need more space; Lecture Venues, Parking Space, Jammie Shuttle Stops.

We need an I.T officer for Dance School that will make communication between the lectures and students easy.

We need 24/7 Computer labs across all faculties.

We need a UCT that will use its “surpluses “to improve these services.

I don’t want to be told of a “broke department”; I paid in full.

Unions, Councils and Societies find it very hard to access their funds. UCT and the SRC must remove the “RED-TAPE” making the functioning of all bodies involved simple, sophisticated and efficient.

We need to transform the SRC into a more visible, transparent and accountable student body that fosters student activism in defence of student rights.

The SRC is mandated by the students to represent them in all spheres of UCT’s governance; this means, the SRC must foster interactions between the students and all the councils and governing structures at UCT.

BY: Esethu Hasane #15

Apologies if I “Engrished” you. I blame Angie’s Department of Basic Education; I’m on my way to my primary school to ask for change from my English Teacher. :-)   

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