UCT health sciences suspends undergrad classes

2016-10-20 20:15
Students and workers at UCT. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Students and workers at UCT. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – UCT’s health sciences faculty on Thursday announced it would suspend all undergraduate face-to-face classes for the year, due to ongoing and widespread disruptions.

While all other faculties announced this suspension earlier this week, the faculty had continued because those classes were essential to teaching and learning.

Dean Bongani Mayosi said the conditions the past three days had made it intolerable to continue classes.

Many students had not attended class because they were protesting or because of the stressful conditions in most teaching situations.

“This situation has unfortunately led to division and conflict amongst students, and high levels of stress among our staff. The conditions have deteriorated to a point where they are no longer conducive to teaching and learning,” he said.

Teaching in 2017 ‘to start later than usual’

Mayosi and his advisory committee decided that teaching and examinations would be completed in a “mini-semester” in January 2017.

He said this semester would have a brief period of continued teaching on 2016 academic work at the start of the year, followed by the final examinations that should have taken place next month.

“We therefore anticipate that the first teaching activities of the 2017 academic year will start later than usual. Since all teaching activities in Years 1 to 3 are being suspended, students are free to return home with immediate effect.”

Final-year students in the department of health and rehabilitation studies and the 4th to 6th year students in the MBChB programme who received clinical training on the health service platform, would complete their studies in 2016.

‘Security urged to be as restrained as possible’

UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price said on Thursday that police officers remained thinly spread over other volatile Western Cape campuses and hot spots.

He had therefore authorised both the public order police and private security to increase their presence, visibility and level of protection, and, where necessary, to use personal protection and crowd-dispersal.

“We have urged all security personnel to be as restrained as possible under the circumstances. If anyone witnesses or experiences any abuses at the hands of security officers, this should be reported.

“I realise that this is a very uncomfortable and awkward scenario for many on campus.”
He said he was mindful of staff and students who were calling for greater security, after some had had traumatic encounters with protesters.

Read more on:    uct  |  max price  |  cape town  |  university protests  |  education  |  university fees

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