Straight talk

2008-03-03 00:00

The Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, has told students at the University of Zululand, where she was formally opening three new residences, that they are at university to study and not to improve their toyi-toying skills. Nor can the country afford, she said, to have students attempting for as long as seven years to complete their first year of study. It may be that many in her audience did not take kindly to her remarks but they needed to be made nonetheless.

This is not to suggest that there are no legitimate student grievances at this country’s universities. What is needed is an effective apparatus to deal with such grievances through dialogue and negotiation. As for taking seven years to pass first-year courses, this should be categorically disallowed. If no pass has been achieved at the end of two years, the student concerned should be required to leave and to continue studying by correspondence. Universities are heavily subsidised by taxpayers’ money and, apart from this, they have standards of academic integrity to maintain.

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