'We want Blade' - academics, varsity staff and parents shout outside Parly

2016-10-26 11:54
UCT staff protest outside Parliament. (Paul Herman, News24)

UCT staff protest outside Parliament. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Cape Town - Over 100 academics, university staff, and parents gathered outside Parliament on Wednesday to call for government to address chronic underfunding in the education sector.

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Many had donned red robes. They handed over a memorandum and held signs stating: "Save Our Universities".

UCT vice-chancellor Max Price had the sign on his umbrella.

The crowd shouted "We want Blade" as a representative accepted the memorandum. This was in reference to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. The representative said government would apply its mind to their demands.

The crowd did not seem happy with this. Some shouted: "What mind?" and "How long?! Christmas?" Police escorted the official back into Parliament.

According to the memorandum, universities and students had been chronically underfunded for many years. They bemoaned increasingly high fees, a lack of transformation, and an environment that placed higher education out of reach for many.

"This ever-deteriorating support for education is not in the interests of our developmental state and results in a squandering of talent that should instead be developed into the future leaders of our country."

The group said students and executives had failed to find common ground and workable solutions.

"The resulting crisis has plumed institutions into chaos, with violence and conflict displacing learning and research."

The group said if no resolution was found soon, the impact would be substantial and immediate, with consequences that everyone would feel for many years.

They demanded that government address funding, inequalities, and the under-resourcing of the education sector as a whole.

The memorandum represents the UCT Academics Union, the UCT Employees Union, Nehawu-UCT, staff and students of Western Cape universities, parents, community members, and civil society.

Read more on:    uct  |  parliament  |  cape town  |  parliament 2016  |  mini budget  |  university protests  |  university fees

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