Nzimande urges students to go back to class

2015-10-28 11:05
Blade Nzimande (File, City Press)

Blade Nzimande (File, City Press)

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Cape Town - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande urged university students to go back to class on Wednesday so that exams could start.

He told Parliament's committee on higher education that the department had earlier anticipated the possibility of protests.

This was after a meeting between President Jacob Zuma, the Cabinet and the executive councils of the country's higher education institutions, as well as students.

Nzimande said that the students' financial problems were made worse by their feelings of alienation at some campuses perceived to be white.

He also complained that some institutions were providing a curriculum more suited to students being taught overseas, without taking into account the South African context and the needs of the country.

He was upset that companies were squandering money allocated to them by the Skills Education Training Authorities (Setas), when this could be put to better use.

An example of waste was a two-week course on emotional intelligence that cost R43 000 a head.

Nzimande said he tried to redirect some of the Seta money, but Business Unity SA took the department to court and won.

He found Busa's actions ''unpatriotic'' in the light of what the department was trying to achieve with the money.

Protests began at Wits in Johannesburg on October 15 when the university's council announced an increase of 10.5%.

The protests spread to campuses around the country, shutting down universities and putting year-end exams on hold in spite of a proposal that nationwide fees be capped at 6%.

Police have fired stun grenades to clear public roads of students in actions that Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane likened to the 1976 student uprising when he spoke during a debate on the issue in Parliament on Tuesday.

On Friday, October 23, Zuma announced that fees would not go up next year, in line with the students' demand.

But protests have continued at some campuses.

Nzimande asked that parents of students also help to get the exam timetable back on track.

Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  education  |  university fees

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