Activity at the College of Cape Town’s Crawford campus has ground to a halt following violent protests last week.
Nursing students displayed their disgust on Monday 20 June after it emerged that the course they enrolled in is not accredited by the South African Nursing Council (SANC).
Despite not necessarily needing the course to be accredited by the SANC in order to practice as a nurse, students set refuse bins alight in the courtyard of the campus, proceeding to break down doors and torch lecture rooms they were scheduled to write exams in.
As a result, the campus has suspended its exams until the end of July, with college management set to meet with the national higher education department later this week.
Sharon Grobbelaar, spokesperson for the College of Cape Town, explains the controversy circled around students who were enrolled their Primary Health Certificate course, which says that the course is carried in the same capacity at other TVET colleges across the country.
“The issue itself is not a college one, it is a national issue. All the colleges were aware of the whole situation, but in the words of one of the directors of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the qualification does not have to be registered from the nursing council, it never has been and does not ever need to be, because it is not a nursing qualification and that is the big issue,” Grobbelaar says.
She says that the college will be working very closely with DHET along with the student body to come up with an amicable solution to the stand-off.
DHET are also expected to address the students. “They are speaking to the Department of Health (DOH), because students originally requested that the DHET develop this qualification to fit into their framework going forward,” adds Grobbelaar.
She says students turned to violence because they have not received the answers they wanted from DHET. The total damage has yet to be determined, but clean-up operations were already in full force by the middle of last week, with the damage seemingly contained to the central section of the campus.
“Campus is very quiet at the moment. All the NCB students are basically on holiday now because their exams have been postponed. The staff is still at campus, but the only students who are on campus are those who are writing national exams at the moment. The situation is calm and under control.”
All classes and exams have since been suspended at the campus and will resume at the start of the new semester.