Blade: Don’t be lazy

2009-10-03 00:00

HIGHER Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande issued a stern warning to lazy students at tertiary institutions yesterday, saying it costs government lots of money to fund students who study “permanently”.

Addressing students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus, Nzimande said such lazy students prevent matriculants from poor communities from accessing higher education by taking too long to complete their degrees.

Nzimande said his department will convene a higher education summit in the first quarter of next year where the issue of lazy students, among other issues, will be seriously discussed.

The minister said the trend of laziness is contributing to the high failure rate in South Africa.

He said the failure rate is a serious issue that could also be attributable to a poor educational background.

“We don’t want students who study permanently.

“It costs government a lot of money to pay for students at universities, and those who are lazy are taking money away from other poor students who should be here,” he said.

He encouraged students to take their studies seriously and warned that the government will not tolerate lazy students.

Nzimande said that there are a significant number of matriculants who commit suicide for failing to attain an exemption. There is a need therefore, said Nzimande, to strengthen colleges and higher training institutions for those who have not attained exemption marks so that they can further their studies. Not achieving an exemption pass is not the end of the world, he said.

The minister said that the issue of fee disparities and increased financial support for poor students will also be discussed during the planned summit.

“We are concerned, for example, why a law degree is expensive from one university compared to another and why a BSC degree at Wits would be two times more expensive than that of the University of Zululand,” he said

The summit, which Nzimande said will incorporate student representative councils, trade unions and management of higher learning institutions, will also discuss the state of engagement and dialogue at tertiary institutions.

Nzimande said indications are that institutional forums initiated for dialogue and engagement on issues are non-functional and need to be revived so that he will not need to be called in to mediate.

“I don’t have the energy and time to put out fires on campuses,” he said.

The government, said the minister, is reviewing the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to ensure that more students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds have access to finances to further their studies.

The review of the financial scheme is expected to be completed by December.

Another issue that the summit will address will be the promotion of social solidarity among students of different races at campuses, he said, adding that culture and education are closely related and students should respect one another’s cultures.

Nzimande said the summit will also discuss the issue of transformation in higher learning institutions.


I don’t have the energy and time to put out fires on campuses

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