PGCE students win battle to stay at PMB campus

2009-01-29 00:00

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has reversed its last minute decision to relocate the Post Graduate Certificate in Education studies (PGCE) at the Pietermaritzburg Campus to Edgewood in Pinetown.

Thirty-seven students who had registered at the PMB campus received instructions from the Dean of Education, Professor Michael Samuel, on Wednesday morning telling them to relocate to Edgewood or deregister. He said due to economic challenges it was not financially viable to provide PGCE studies in PMB any longer.

However, students rejected the decision, saying that they were not consulted about the proposed move otherwise they would have made alternative plans. The students presented a petition, stating reasons why they were opposing the move. Samuel accepted the petition and promised to discuss the matter with senior management.

In a press statement yesterday, UKZN Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of College, Humanities, Professor Fikile Mazibuko said management ruled in favour of the students. “Registration of PGCE students will continue at the Pietermaritzburg Campus. The Faculty of Education will continue to offer PGCE at both Pietermaritzburg and Edgewood campuses in 2009.”

He said the university will honour its obligations towards the welfare and wellbeing of its students. “Students are requested to continue with their registration …” he said.

David Look, one of the students involved, said the initial call was a “premature decision”.

“Finally sanity prevails; management should have planned the announcement, not drop it like a bomb as they did. Moving PGCE students out of PMB would have had massive implications for schools in the area. But this [reversal of the decision] shows what happens when students come together to fight for each other’s interests.”

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