UNIVEN academic programme to resume Monday

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Academic programme at the University of Venda (UNIVEN) is expected to be back to normal on Monday following its forced closure last week, university management announced.

Students at the university's Thohoyandou Campus have been protesting against delays in payment of food and book allowances by National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Whilst respecting students’ right to protest, the university management said it was disappointed with the behaviour of rogue elements amongst the protesting students, who engaged in violent and destructive action.

“Their actions caused damage not only to municipal and campus infrastructure, but also to our university’s reputation.  While ostensibly protesting for the right of the black child to free quality education, these rogue elements have seen it fit to disrupt the education of learners at schools in Thohoyandou and of our own students on campus,” the university said.

The management said it was concerned that the forced closure of the campus has disrupted the academic programme, which includes not only teaching and learning, but also some world-class research undertaken in science laboratories.

“It [closure] further stalled the progress with recovery projects on amongst others, student residences, as contractors were unable to access the campus. Ironically, it is primarily our students themselves who will suffer the negative impact of the current protests.”

The management reiterated its support for free higher education for the poor as a just cause which should be supported by all of us, but “we are strongly against it being advanced through unjust means.”

The management has committed to work with student leadership to address all the legitimate concerns raised on behalf of the student body, in an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust and accountability.

“In such an atmosphere, violent and destructive protest, and interruptions of the academic programme are unnecessary and misplaced, and will not be condoned,” the university said.

The university announced that the management was able to work extensively with NSFAS to ensure that all qualifying students were paid their outstanding allowances. NSFAS is still waiting for a few students to update their details. – SAnews.gov.za

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