The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training has called on protesting University of Cape Town (UCT) students to allow the institution to complete the academic year without disturbances.
The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Connie September, said it was critical that the academic year is completed at the university so that students’ futures are not compromised. “The Committee will never support a situation where university infrastructure is burnt in a moment of anger. This is what the students need to safeguard so that their children inherit a good institution,” she said.
The Committee conducted an oversight visit to the University of Cape Town yesterday with the intention of understanding the disturbances that resulted in classes being suspended last week.
The Committee was informed that as much as management is sympathetic to the genuine concerns of students, it is also committed to completing the academic year. Issues raised as challenges included transformation, institutional culture, failure rate, support for previously disadvantaged students, the student suicide rate, mental health challenges, sexual abuse, the curriculum and the lack of transformation of the academic staff.
Management and Council were asked to make additional representation on all the matters raised. “We need to continue to engage. There can never be a substitute for engagement. We have more success in remaining at the negotiation table. Indeed, our hard-won freedom comes from negotiation,” Ms September said.
Issued by Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of the Committee Chairperson, Connie September