Stellenbosch University commended for transformation efforts

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pretoria – The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training has commended Stellenbosch University for considering a proposal to facilitate all learning activities at the institution in English.

Committee chairperson Yvonne Phosa said the move should be viewed as progressive, especially in light of the transformation efforts that are underway not only at Stellenbosch University but at other institutions in the country.

“We congratulate Stellenbosch University for this positive move, which will assist transformation efforts in a big way. This is the most tangible illustration of the management’s commitment towards transformation.

“In our engagement with the management a few months ago, they did indicate their commitment towards implementing transformation plans at the institution and we are pleased to note that such plans were, within quite a short space of time, moved from being on paper to being implemented,” said Phosa.

She challenged other institutions, which still face transformation concerns, to take a leaf out of Stellenbosch University’s exemplary book.

“We hope that other institutions will learn from Stellenbosch University’s progressive leadership. Ours has always been a call for the fast tracking of transformation at institutions of higher learning and we remain unwavering in this regard.”

Phosa urged all the relevant stakeholders to support the proposal on the language policy change, adding that any opposition to it would be reversing the transformation gains that were steadily being made.

Meanwhile, Phosa condemned the violence that erupted at the University of the Western Cape and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology following student protests.

“It was so undesirable to see the university’s property being vandalised and people being hurt only because students want to make their point heard.

“Students have to realise that their right to protest does not have to infringe on the rights of others and subsequently lead to vandalism and ugly scenes,” Phosa said.

She also urged all parties to sit around the table and work on ending the impasse that led to the protests.

“We urge the vice chancellors, working together with the management and councils as well as the student leadership, to work on whatever disagreements that arose in a civil manner. For those students who are found to be committing acts outside the parameters of the law, we call upon law enforcement to responsibly deter such acts.

"The legitimate concerns raised by the protesting students have been noted by all the relevant parties and what is needed now is for them to be given the space to process the issues while the students go back to their studies and focus on exams,” Phosa said. –

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