Protesting students disrupt examinations

2019-09-11 06:00
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaStudents singing outside the TVET central office on Monday.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaStudents singing outside the TVET central office on Monday.

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EXAMINATION processes were disrupted at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges around Pietermaritzburg as students embarked on a strike.

The strike started on Friday, three days after students commenced examinations.

The students demand that their National Students Financial Aids System (NSFAS) funds for semester two, which started on July 9, be paid into their accounts immediately.

Other students say they have not received any money since the beginning of the year.

On Friday some of the students at the Msunduzi campus, who were described as “sell outs” by protesting students, went to write their examinations but their papers were destroyed by the protesters.

The protesting students allegedly went to examination rooms where they destroyed all the papers and chased everyone out, saying that no one is going to attend class until their issues are resolved.

On Monday, angry students from Plessislaer, Edendale, Northdale, Msunduzi, and Midlands campuses marched to the central office of the college on Berg street.

They broke the gate to gain entrance to the premises, where they chanted as they demanded answers from management.

The students have vowed that they will not return to class until their issues have been resolved.

Student Representative Council (SRC) president Nonsikelelo Madondo said there are a number of issues happy with unhappy with and demand answers and solutions from management.

“One of the burning issues is NSFAS. Students have not been paid for this semester. We were promised that we will get money between August 26 to August 30 but that never happened.

“We have tried to engage with management but no one is giving us answers as to why the students have not been paid.

“On Friday, Msunduzi campus students submitted a memorandum, on Monday we submitted another memorandum but still we do not have clear answers,” she said.

Madondo said that on Monday and Tuesday some students could not write exams due to the strike.

College Principal Ntombi Ntshangase confirmed that exams were disrupted. She said students are angry because they did not get their money on time from NSFAS.

“The students will get their money, it’s just delayed. The problem is that the students are used to getting their money on time since the year started and when they saw that payment was late this semester, they went on strike.

There are students who have been paid but most students have not been paid yet,” she said.

Ntshangase said they have tried to engage with the students and explain to them that they will receive their money.

“We have told them that there is no need for them to disrupt lectures and examinations due to this delay.

“What they are doing is they are jeopardising their education because the college policy says that if the students decide to disrupt classes, the college will not help them get back the work they have lost.

“We urge students to go back to class because they are getting left behind with [regards] the school work,” she said.

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