Decolonise the curriculum for global relevance

Prof Ramogale: Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Teaching and Learning

The link between education and human prosperity is universally acknowledged. It is for this reason that, in his State of the Nation address last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted “better educational outcomes” as one of the key goals for the government in the next 10 years.

Although there is consensus on the vital role played by education in social and economic development, there isn’t, unfortunately, agreement on how it can be used to achieve this. In South Africa, there is, however, sufficient consensus on the need to decolonise our education as part of a broad plan to strengthen our educational system and, indirectly, our society and economy.

The need to decolonise our education comes out of a recognition that much of what is taught is a legacy from our colonial past, a past which was designed to entrench unequal power relations and privileges for a minority.

The decolonisation discourse has been accompanied by fierce debates about what this concept means. There has also been contention on how to go about decolonising knowledge, and the curriculum in particular. I will attempt to explain how perspectives from didactics can help us decolonise the curriculum effectively.

Didactics, also known as the science of teaching, recognises that if teaching and learning is to be successful, certain universal conditions must be met. These universal requirements are known as “didactic principles”. Of the several principles recognised in didactic theory, there are three which are of special relevance to the decolonisation of the curriculum.

In the colonial era, the relationship between the coloniser and the colonised was hierarchical, with the colonising culture having positioned itself as superior and “civilised” as opposed to the marginal and “barbaric” culture of the colonised. In this unequal relationship, the coloniser viewed anything indigenous as backward and valueless and the colonised were indoctrinated into believing that this was true. For example, in his book Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela says the following about Healdtown, the school he attended for his secondary education in the late 1930s. “Healdtown was a mission school of the Methodist Church, and provided a Christian and liberal arts education based on an English model. The principal of Healdtown was Dr Arthur Wellington, a stout and stuffy Englishman who boasted of his connection to the Duke of Wellington. At the outset of assemblies, Dr Wellington would walk on stage and say, in his deep bass voice, ‘I am the descendant of the great Duke of Wellington, aristocrat, statesman, and general, who crushed the Frenchman Napoleon at Waterloo and thereby saved civilisation for Europe — and for you, the natives.’

“At this, we would all enthusiastically applaud, each of us profoundly grateful that a descendant of the great Duke of Wellington would take the trouble to educate natives such as ourselves. The educated Englishman was our model; what we aspired to be were ‘black Englishmen’, as we were sometimes derisively called. We were taught — and believed — that the best ideas were English ideas, the best government was English government, and the best men were Englishmen.”

By sanctifying the values and beliefs of the colonial master as the golden standard to strive for, colonial education alienated the colonised from their own culture, and turned them into foreigners in their own land. Through its prioritisation of things European at the expense of things African, colonial education undermined, from an educational point of view, the didactic principle that urges that all teaching must proceed from the known to the unknown. By violating this principle, colonial education ultimately rendered its own teaching ineffectual while also weakening the learning potential of the colonised.

What do I mean by this?

In didactic theory, it is universally accepted that for a learner to acquire new knowledge, the new knowledge must form a link with the knowledge and experiences the learner already possesses. If the new knowledge relates to the learner’s experiences, then the learner will find the new knowledge meaningful and will therefore acquire it with ease and enjoyment. If new facts are not connected to the learner’s existing knowledge, the result is likely to be boredom, alienation and poor motivation.

This probably explains why in the campaign to decolonise our education, young people have routinely complained about how alienating and foreign some institutional cultures in South Africa are. The need to retain the learner’s interest and teach in a meaningful way is the reason teacher-trainees are urged to start with the familiar and then gradually proceed to the unfamiliar.

Colonial education violated this principle of proceeding from the known to the unknown in its foregrounding and veneration of European culture (the unknown) at the expense of the learner’s African culture (the known). Universities inherited this legacy and this explains why, even 25 years after the birth of a democratic South Africa, young people complain of cultural imperialism. So the challenge for universities is to make sure that students are taught first in relation to the experiences they already have and then gradually introduced to new facts and perspectives.

Having started with the familiar, an effective teacher is expected to proceed to the unfamiliar, for staying with the familiar will deprive the learner of new developmental experiences and modes of thought. As we decolonise the curriculum, it is important to remember the continuity imperative, for there is always a temptation in a decolonisation project to stay with the known for reasons that have no bearing on effective teaching and learning but are more connected with chauvinism and cultural pride. In the campaign to decolonise the curriculum, some young people have argued for a “decolonised, Afrocentric” curriculum, with Afrocentrism as a new standard and Africa as the beginning and end of what is worth knowing. But, to do this would not be truly developmental because in progressive thought Afrocentrism is never the end; it is rather a means, a stepping stone to a global platform where scholars engage in intellectual and cultural exchange as equals.

Starting with the known and proceeding to the unknown is inherently progressive because it recognises that while what is familiar is meaningful, a true end of empowering education is mastery of the unfamiliar. By being inward-looking and self-reflexive, Eurocentrism debilitated itself by cutting off links with the infinite riches of global human knowledge — something which may, in part, explain the slow but inevitable decline of the West. The narcissism and self-laudatory expostulations of Eurocentrism are shortcomings that an Afrocentric approach to knowledge and decolonisation must avoid.

In this epoch, where life in the global village has become an inescapable reality, thanks to rapid technological changes, the need to proceed from the known to the unknown, from the local to the global, has become a priority. We must, if we hope to teach for global relevance, decolonise knowledge to enable students to progress from the known to the unknown.

Related to the foregoing principle is another didactic requirement that has the potential to make the decolonisation of the curriculum effective. This principle refers to the need, when teaching, to proceed from the simple to the complex. Teaching that commences with the known does not only make learning interesting and memorable, but also makes it easy and manageable, for what is familiar is usually simple to grasp. But, when a teacher proceeds to the unknown, an element of complexity is introduced, and mastery of complexity is a key objective of worthwhile teaching and learning. Such mastery is made possible by the foundation that the teacher will have created by having started with the known and simple.

Finally, when decolonising the curriculum, we must remember the unity of human knowledge, for didactic theory also recognises the principle of totality, which is also known as the global principle or the principle of integration. Although each person is a member of a family, a clan and nation, on a higher plane each one of us is a member of a single human race — integrated into the whole by virtue of one’s humanness, confronted with similar human problems on account of being an organic member of the human species, and faced with peculiarities of the same human condition. Decolonised knowledge must therefore be integrated with the totality of human knowledge.

This should be easy to achieve if there is acceptance of the need to progress from the known to the unknown, from the simple to complex, and from the local to the global.

Didactic theory can be applied profitably in the decolonisation project. What it teaches us is that we must not decolonise the curriculum with the intention of basking in the glory of African culture and historical achievements, but with the purpose of employing the known, the simple and the local as a springboard for engagement with the unknown, the complex and the global on a higher international plane, for world citizenship is now unavoidable.

Since that time when early humans left the African savannah (the known, the simple and the local) to explore and inhabit the world beyond (the unknown, the complex and the global), the universalisation of human knowledge has been accelerating apace and the shrinking of the globe into a small village has continued relentlessly. Countries that recognise this fact as an inescapable reality of the future, and educate the young for meaningful participation therein, have a better chance of strengthening themselves and their economies.

  • Professor Marcus Ramogale is the deputy vice-chancellor for teaching and learning at the Mangosuthu University of Technology.

MUT to host a press conference to discuss 40th anniversary on Thursday at 10h30

12 June 2019 

Press release statement: For immediate release

Submitted by: Azwi Mufamadi

Email: hlophe@mut.ac.za

MUT to host a press conference to discuss 40th anniversary on Thursday at 10h30

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) will host a press conference on Thursday, 13 June 2019 at 10h30, to discuss its upcoming 40th anniversary celebrations. These celebrations are also meant to celebrate the history of Umlazi Township, where the institution is rooted.

“Much as we are celebrating our 40th anniversary as an institution, there are other things we want to do beyond MUT. We have realised that Umlazi Township does not have tangible information about its history and we want to excite the people of Umlazi to share their historical information with us. We have commissioned a temporary gallery where some of this history will be displayed along with the history of MUT,” said Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, sixth Vice-Chancellor and Principal of MUT.

Dr Malaza further explained that the university recognized the contribution made by the people of Umlazi Township not only to MUT but to the rest of South Africa.

“There are people who have shaped Umlazi Township and South Africa but they are unsung heroes. That history is not there. As much as we are celebrating 40 years we are also expanding beyond the University to include Umlazi Township,” Dr Malaza explained.

Details of the press conference are as follows:

Event/activity: Press Conference on MUT 40th anniversary

Time: 10h00 for 10h30

Venue: HR Boardroom, MUT

To RSVP and arrange one-on-one interviews, contact Bheki Hlophe on hlophe@mut.ac.za or 031 907 7195 by 14h30.

MUT’s 40th celebrations events start with the Town Meets Gown Parade on Friday, 14 June 2019 outside MUT’s main entrance; led by the MUT Council, Executive Management and MUT Founding Father, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The Parade will be followed by the unveiling of the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Mosaic Mural at MUT’s anniversary lane. After the Mural unveiling, guests and participants will move across the road to the Faculty of Natural Sciences, where the University will open the History of MUT and Umlazi Gallery (temporary) at the Natural Sciences Building foyer.

The second day of celebration (Saturday, 15 June 2019), is packed with fun and formal events. The Alumni Masterclass on Entrepreneurship will kick start proceedings in the morning, followed by the Alumni Homecoming Picnic, which is accompanied by soccer and netball tournaments. These activities will culminate into the last activity of the day, the Inaugural Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Public Lecture, which will be delivered by Dr Moss Mashamaite.

Ends

 

A spirit of gratitude prevails as MUT turns 40

Press release statement: For immediate release

Submitted by Ms Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing & Communications 

A spirit of gratitude prevails as MUT turns 40

From 14-16 June all roads will lead to Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) where it will commence its 40-year celebrations. The first event on 14 June will be an academic parade to King Zwelithini Stadium to meet the people of Umlazi. This is a Town Meets Gown / Yazisa umakhelwane wakho event. Staff will be bearing gifts to the people of Umlazi who were affected by the recent floods. The University will also be donating furniture to schools and affected families. Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi will be leading the parade.

Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, Vice-Chancellor & Principal of Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), believes that if MUT is to succeed in implementing its Strategy 2025 it first has to revisit its humble beginnings. “For the University to celebrate 40 years of existence without a purpose would defeat the very cause for which the University, was formed as a Technikon in 1979”. One of the key goals of MUT Strategy 2025 is national engagement, particularly focusing on nation-building.

“MUT should not take lightly the fact that its establishment was based on a humanitarian philosophy. It was based on a fundamental approach that those who can and who have should uplift those who do not have. It is this spirit of altruism that built MUT into what it has become 40 years later. MUT should replicate what the Founder, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi did by knocking on the door of Sir Harry Oppenheimer for seed funding to establish MUT”, Dr Malaza said. Today, MUT has over 40,000 alumni, some of whom are also sending their children to MUT.

The capstone events are the unveiling of the Prince Buthelezi mosaic mural, the opening of a mini gallery showcasing the culture of Umlazi Township and the life of Prince Buthelezi. There will also be a public lecture on Saturday, 15 June in honour of Prince Buthelezi. The speaker will be Dr Moss Mashamaite.

On the side line of these events will also be the Alumni Homecoming weekend filled with sports, Master Classes, picnics and prayer.

MILE – Research Symposium

EThekwini’s Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) and its research aligned partners Durban University of Technology (DUT); Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC); Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT); University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN); University of South Africa (UNISA); University of Zululand (UNIZULU) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) extends this Invitation for the Research Symposium 2019.
The water–energy–food nexus has become a popular, and potentially powerful, frame through which to analyse interactions and interdependencies between these three systems. Presenters must show research application within a local government context (City of Durban). Where relevant, research outputs must profile how residential and business communities and other strategic engagement partners were incorporated in the research, not as end-users but as engaged and process participants in working towards a shared vision. In profiling trans-disciplinary research outputs, the responses to the call for expanded summaries must demonstrate the extent to which applied research and collaborative projects, is deemed relevant or has the potential to make a local impact.

Please send your completed registration form to Ms Nokuphiwa Ngwenya via email: Nokuphiwa.Ngwenya@durban.gov.za no later than Friday, 17th May 2019

Invitation Research Symposium 2019
Registration Form – Research Symposium

DHET releases Draft Policy to address Gender-Based Violence at TVET and Universities

Minister Pandor releases the for Public Comment Draft Policy Framework to Address Gender-Based Violence at TVET and Universities The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr. Naledi Pandor, has released for public comment, the draft ‘Policy Framework to address Gender-Based Violence in the Post-School Education and Training System.

The Policy Framework compels PSET institutions to both create awareness of GBV policies and prevent incidents of GBV; as well as to assist PSET institutions to address the occurrence of GBV.

It also provides a monitoring instrument to the Department to assess the implementation of the Policy Framework. This significant development also shows the commitment of the DHET to build an inclusive and diversified post-school school education and training system where all citizens have equal access to quality post-school education and training opportunities in a safe environment.

The Policy Framework is a product of an intensive consultation process that includes a wide range of post-school education and training stakeholders.

READ THE FULL POLICY

Passing away of Thabiso Gina

Dear Colleagues

It is with sadness that we report the passing away of Thabiso Gina, an Accounting student. The family reported that Thabiso passed away last weekend. He will be laid to rest on 9 March 2019 at Melmoth in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Our prayers are with the family at this tough time. May his soul rest in peace.

Regards,

Senate supports the decision to resume classes on Monday, 4 March 2019

27 February 2019

Dear Colleagues

While classes should have resumed today, both management and the SRC agreed that it would be fair to respect the voice of Senate which had recommended a University closure on 19 February 2019. Senate has just sat and pronounced that lectures should start on Monday, 04 March 2019. This should allow those students with queries and those whose registration had not yet been finalised to settle these issues.

Professor Marcus Ramogale, DVC: Teaching & Learning will present a recovery plan to Senate after engaging with the faculty executives.

Issued by Marketing & Communications.

 

Press Release Statement: Student Protests at MUT

20 February 2019        

For immediate release: Submitted by Hlophe@mut.ac.za

PRESS RELEASE STATEMENT: STUDENT PROTESTS AT MUT

The University has in the past three weeks gone all out to show it regards its partnership with students seriously. To this end, the University has made a number of concessions and indicated to the SRC that some of these are dependent on Council as they have budget implications and some of the requests are policy issues at national government level.

When the University pronounced that students should vacate the University, the decision was made in the interest of the safety of staff, students and property. Moreover, the University also has an obligation to protect the people of Umlazi Township. The student protests had also spilled outside campus.

So far, the university has done everything in its power to resolve the stalemate with students. It is unfortunate that the university had to resort to cancelling lectures and sending students home, in order to create an environment where negotiations can continue without putting students’ lives at risk. As far as the taking the University to court, in terms of the University Statute, the Vice-Chancellor has a right to close down the University after consultation with all the relevant parties to ensure the safety of staff, students and property. The students have a right to approach the court.

Please find demands by students and responses by the university below:

  1. Concessions

We agreed on fee concessions and have been implementing as per agreements with the SRC. However, in the meeting of the 18 of February, the SRC informed us that, because Friday was the last registration day, some students could not register on Friday. This meant that the University would have to extend its registration to accommodate those who had not registered. Annual students have expressed the desire to have their full learning materials allowances paid, which the University will do.

  1. Allowances

The Financial Aid Bureau (FAB) has confirmed that the payment process is ongoing. There are now 8500 MUT students who are NSFAS approved. A summary of the state of allowances is as follows:

  • We have paid allowances to 7022 students; •There were 44 students who had incorrect banking accounts by Thursday afternoon; •A batch of 330 students has been compiled for payment of students who submitted documents up to Thursday, 14 February 2019. This will be paid latest today, 19 February 2019, after validation.
  • Documents for 144 students were received on Friday, 15 February 2019, and we need to validate these documents for payment on Thursday, 21 February 2019.
  • Out of the 8500 NSFAS confirmed students, we are missing banking details for approximately 1058 students.

We are trying to get students with incorrect banking details to re-submit correct ones.

  1. Infrastructure demands by students
  • Library access for 24 hours per day every day of the week; •Access to clinic for 24 hours of the week; •Provision of adequate printing facilities to students Undertaking from executive management

3.1. Extended Library access:

Library hours can be extended immediately with two additional hours (from 9:00pm to 11:00pm daily).  This decision will have additional salary implications for the university (six staff members/ 2 hours per day overtime salary costs).

3.2. Further extension to 24 hours per day will require Council approval because of the huge financial and staff implications (e.g. staff numbers and salaries will have to be doubled). Council is meeting on 28 March 2019. Management can provide the SRC with Council’s decision at the end of March 2019. The additional hours will initially be provided during peak exam periods, in June and November exam periods. In the meantime, the use of the Library by students will be monitored to determine the hours and pattern of use to inform decision on the optimum operating hours for the Library.

3.3. Extended Clinic access:

Clinic hours will be extended from 08:00am in the morning to 8:00pm in the evening or from 07:00am to 7:00pm. This arrangement would have four additional staff and salary implications for the University.  A twenty-four-hour access is not possible immediately. The University has written to the MEC for Health in the KZN Province regarding additional nursing assistance to MUT. Even if that succeeds, the matter also needs to be taken to Council first for their approval. EMC will only be able to provide feedback to the SRC after the Council meeting on 28 March 2019.

3.4. Access to more printing facilities:

The University will ensure that the heavy use printer in the faculty of Natural Sciences is operational at all times; and will use benchmarked ratio of printers per student in the computer laboratories.

  1. Fee increment

The students have requested the fee increment to be reversed. The University will consult with Council as this has budget implications for the entire year.

5.The issue of accommodation was discussed last week but not raised at today’s meeting The SRC has rejected the residence fees deposit, which are approximately in the range of R4,600 to R8,000. They have advised that the residence fee should not exceed R6, 000 for external residences and have also rejected the residence fees for the Phase 1 Student Residence arguing that it is not as if the University has to pay rent on it. The reason why the campus Phase 1 New residence deposit is approximately R8000 is because standards are not the same as the residences built two decades ago. Students want this reduced. They do not want the new campus residences to cost the same as the ones in town. However, the University is servicing a loan of R105 million from ABSA for the new residences. The additional costs will allow us to pay-off the loan in twenty years. Students want these residences’ deposits to remain at R4, 000 on campus and R6, 000 respectively. We will be taking this matter to Council as well.

End/

 

 

 

Progress Report: MUT engagements towards the reopening of the University

Following on the University communiqué of 25 February 2019, I wish to provide the context and update.

1. Building on ongoing initiatives within the University, the meeting convened on campus by the Office of the Premier of the KZN on 25 February 2019 provided the first step towards the reopening of the University.

2. The meeting noted the plight of the thousands of registered students who are denied the opportunity to achieve what they have come and already registered for, which is to receive education.
3. Close to 99% of the planned intake for 2019 is already registered.

4. A commitment to resume classes on Wednesday, 27 February 2019 by the meeting, is still to be operationalized through normal University governance and processes.

5. The EMC is working with the SRC to arrive at a list of immediate priority issues to be addressed while classes are ongoing because some of the actions to meet the student demands necessitate processes that take time, to the extent that financial implications have to be factored into the budget of the University.

6. EMC is painfully aware of the immense strain being put on the University budget by demands leading to increases in expenditure while undermining viable income streams.

7. The list of issues finalized by the EMC and the SRC will be discussed with a broader student forum, including structures that were at the meeting facilitated by the Office of the Premier.

8. EMC will, in consultation with Senate, take the emerging consensus position around the opening of the University to Council for consideration.

9. While we may not meet the deadline for reopening the University by Wednesday, 27 February 2019, EMC will endeavour to ensure that this happens soon thereafter.

10. We are encouraged by the commitment of the MEC to increase policing and maintenance of public order. This will safeguard the University and improve the physical safety of students and staff.

__________________
Dr E D Malaza
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
26 February 2019

Fake message alert

MUT classes will resume on Wednesday, 27 February 2019. Allowances remain capped at R1440 meal allowance and R5000 study material allowance as per DHET’s directive.

Fake letter statement

MUT is aware of the fake VC letter announcing the postponement of the resumption of lectures until further notice. The culprits of this letter stole the VC’s letter, edited it and sent it bearing the VC’s signature. This is a criminal offence and criminal charges will be laid against these culprits.

We want to confirm that lectures will resume on Wednesday, 27 February 2019, as planned. Students are expected to report to lectures as per the direction of their timetables.

We urge our staff and students to be on the lookout for similar fake messages and to report these to 0800 000 464 for urgent attention.

 

Resolution to go back to class

The KZN Provincial Legislature’s initiative to bring MUT Executive Management Committee (EMC), the Student Representative Council (SRC), student structures and representatives from DHET and NSFAS has made significant progress today at a meeting held at MUT. The resolution reached is for students to return to class on Wednesday, 27 February 2019. Both the EMC and the SRC were mandated to implement this resolution.

Dr Enoch Duma Malaza
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
25 February 2019

Press Release Statement: Student Protests at MUT

20 February 2019        

For immediate release: Submitted by Hlophe@mut.ac.za

PRESS RELEASE STATEMENT: STUDENT PROTESTS AT MUT

The University has in the past three weeks gone all out to show it regards its partnership with students seriously. To this end, the University has made a number of concessions and indicated to the SRC that some of these are dependent on Council as they have budget implications and some of the requests are policy issues at national government level.

When the University pronounced that students should vacate the University, the decision was made in the interest of the safety of staff, students and property. Moreover, the University also has an obligation to protect the people of Umlazi Township. The student protests had also spilled outside campus.

So far, the university has done everything in its power to resolve the stalemate with students. It is unfortunate that the university had to resort to cancelling lectures and sending students home, in order to create an environment where negotiations can continue without putting students’ lives at risk. As far as the taking the University to court, in terms of the University Statute, the Vice-Chancellor has a right to close down the University after consultation with all the relevant parties to ensure the safety of staff, students and property. The students have a right to approach the court.

Please find demands by students and responses by the university below:

  1. Concessions

We agreed on fee concessions and have been implementing as per agreements with the SRC. However, in the meeting of the 18 of February, the SRC informed us that, because Friday was the last registration day, some students could not register on Friday. This meant that the University would have to extend its registration to accommodate those who had not registered. Annual students have expressed the desire to have their full learning materials allowances paid, which the University will do.

  1. Allowances

The Financial Aid Bureau (FAB) has confirmed that the payment process is ongoing. There are now 8500 MUT students who are NSFAS approved. A summary of the state of allowances is as follows:

  • We have paid allowances to 7022 students; •There were 44 students who had incorrect banking accounts by Thursday afternoon; •A batch of 330 students has been compiled for payment of students who submitted documents up to Thursday, 14 February 2019. This will be paid latest today, 19 February 2019, after validation.
  • Documents for 144 students were received on Friday, 15 February 2019, and we need to validate these documents for payment on Thursday, 21 February 2019.
  • Out of the 8500 NSFAS confirmed students, we are missing banking details for approximately 1058 students.

We are trying to get students with incorrect banking details to re-submit correct ones.

  1. Infrastructure demands by students
  • Library access for 24 hours per day every day of the week; •Access to clinic for 24 hours of the week; •Provision of adequate printing facilities to students Undertaking from executive management

3.1. Extended Library access:

Library hours can be extended immediately with two additional hours (from 9:00pm to 11:00pm daily).  This decision will have additional salary implications for the university (six staff members/ 2 hours per day overtime salary costs).

3.2. Further extension to 24 hours per day will require Council approval because of the huge financial and staff implications (e.g. staff numbers and salaries will have to be doubled). Council is meeting on 28 March 2019. Management can provide the SRC with Council’s decision at the end of March 2019. The additional hours will initially be provided during peak exam periods, in June and November exam periods. In the meantime, the use of the Library by students will be monitored to determine the hours and pattern of use to inform a decision on the optimum operating hours for the Library.

3.3. Extended Clinic access:

Clinic hours will be extended from 8:00am in the morning to 8:00pm in the evening or from 07:00am to 7:00pm. This arrangement would have four additional staff and salary implications for the University.  A twenty-four-hour access is not possible immediately. The University has written to the MEC for Health in the KZN Province regarding additional nursing assistance to MUT. Even if that succeeds, the matter also needs to be taken to Council first for their approval. EMC will only be able to provide feedback to the SRC after the Council meeting on 28 March 2019.

3.4. Access to more printing facilities:

The University will ensure that the heavy use printer in the faculty of Natural Sciences is operational at all times; and will use benchmarked ratio of printers per student in the computer laboratories.

  1. Fee increment

The students have requested the fee increment to be reversed. The University will consult with Council as this has budget implications for the entire year.

5. The issue of accommodation was discussed last week but not raised at today’s meeting The SRC has rejected the residence fees deposit, which are approximately in the range of R4,600 to R8,000. They have advised that the residence fee should not exceed R6, 000 for external residences and have also rejected the residence fees for the Phase 1 Student Residence arguing that it is not as if the University has to pay rent on it. The reason why the campus Phase 1 New residence deposit is approximately R8000 is because standards are not the same as the residences built two decades ago. Students want this reduced. They do not want the new campus residences to cost the same as the ones in town. However, the University is servicing a loan of R105 million from ABSA for the new residences. The additional costs will allow us to pay-off the loan in twenty years. Students want these residences’ deposits to remain at R4, 000 on campus and R6, 000 respectively. We will be taking this matter to Council as well.

End/

Update on the University shutdown

Dear staff and students,

Following a Senate consultation and a decision to shut down the residences, more than 80% of our students have vacated the internal residences. A small number is slowly vacating external residences.

The University has sent out an SMS to all students still remaining to vacate residences as soon as possible as they are in violation of Senate decision.

Re-Notice of Closure of the University

19 February 2019

To Students and Staff

Dear MUT Community 

RE-NOTICE OF CLOSURE OF THE UNIVERSITY

Owing to violent activities on campus and at the off-campus residences, management has consulted Council and Senate, and a resolution has been taken to shut down the University with immediate effect.

Regrettably, all students must vacate all campuses and residences by 16h00, today, 19 February 2019. No student will be allowed to remain on campus and therefore; they should remove all their belongings.

The University will close until further notice.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Enoch Duma Malaza

Vice-Chancellor & Principal

Minister Naledi Pandor’s Statement on Addressing the Issues Raised by the South African Union of Student

15 February 2019

On Saturday 9 February 2019, I met with SRC presidents from all 26 public universities, along with the South African Student’s Union (SAUS), the CEO of Universities South Africa (USAf) and the Administrator of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The meeting was held in response to an urgent request from SAUS to address 12 high level demands made by SAUS in calling for a national shutdown of all universities.

At the meeting I committed to providing a detailed response to students and the public on the wide range of issues fuelling conflict on our university campuses. This statement expands on the inputs made at the 9 February 2019 meeting, and our presentation at the meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training, held on 13 February 2019.

I would like to correct the misunderstanding that I do not take seriously the matters that students have raised with me. This is not the case. In addressing the twelve issues that SAUS raised with me, I would like to respond as follows:

1. Accumulating student debts and the financial exclusion of students from the 2019 registration in universities.

No NSFAS qualifying student who was registered in 2018, and who has been admitted to a university and meets the academic criteria for continuation should be prevented from registering in 2019 due to outstanding fees. I have previously outlined the process in this regard. Students in good academic standing who have debt and are NSFAS-qualifying must sign an Acknowledgement of Debt form (AoD) and will be allowed to register for 2019. This is the same process that was followed last year. I am working closely with NSFAS and institutions to ensure that these measures are put in place at universities.

I am addressing the matter of historic debt of NSFAS-qualifying students in accordance with the above process, and I have committed to make an announcement before the end of March on this matter.
I am particularly concerned about any final year students who may be on track to completion this year, but may have been blocked from registering due to outstanding debt. I have directed that the Department should identify these students immediately and work with institutions to ensure they can register and complete their studies.

We need to ensure that any student who is academically successful and unable to complete their studies for financial reasons, is enabled to complete. Government will find a way, in collaboration with institutions to resolve this matter urgently. I repeat, no academically successful student who is about to complete their studies should be prevented from graduating.

We are not able as Government to immediately resolve the full debt of all students in the university system. We have decided to prioritise students from poor and working class backgrounds. However we are developing a policy framework for the regulation of university fees from 2020 onwards, in order to ensure that fees are kept at affordable levels for all families that need assistance. I am pleased to confirm that R30.8 billion is made available this year to assist financially-needy students via NSFAS at universities and TVET colleges.

2. The crisis of student accommodation, student transport services and collapsed campus health services.

Addressing student accommodation is a priority of government, through support from the Infrastructure and Efficiency Grant (IEG) for student accommodation and other infrastructure projects. R4.1 billion has been allocated since 2015/16 until 2020/21 for student housing.

The Department is implementing the Student Housing Infrastructure Programme, which is working on a range of partnerships to provide 200 000 student beds for universities over a period of 10 years. 18 221 new beds will be provided over the next three years. The institutions involved are: Nelson Mandela University (2000 beds), University of the Western Cape (2680 beds), North West University Mafikeng (1760 beds), Sefako Makgatho University (2000 beds), University of Fort Hare (1437 beds), University of Limpopo (3008 beds), University of Zululand (3500 beds) and Vaal University of Technology (1836 beds).

The Department is also working with the Departments of Human Settlements and Public Works to explore options for off campus social housing. A range of private developers are also developing properties in the vicinities of our universities. We encourage all forms of activity towards ensuring that efficient, affordable and safe student housing is available to students across the system.

3. Lack of postgraduate funding and the shrinking of enrolment quotas for postgraduates

I must indicate that post-graduate enrolments are in fact growing in the university sector. In 2017 we had 173 441 postgraduate students in the system, and the number is expected to grow to 185 684 in 2019 based on the approved midterm enrolment planning targets. This is an annual growth rate of approximately 2.5%.

Funding for postgraduate students is available through the National Research Foundation (NRF) as well as through institutional funds. We acknowledge that the funding available is not adequate to meet the needs of all students. However, this is something that I will discuss with the Department of Science and Technology.

4. The problem of NSFAS appeals and confusion on the allowances

Student formations and university leaders have expressed their support for the turnaround of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. This year, for the first time ever, students have been confirmed for funding at registration, and large numbers of students have received their first allowances. This means that they can start their academic year with peace of mind knowing they have the necessary support to succeed. I know that there are still some exceptions, and I urge that we allow NSFAS the necessary time to resolve these problems, working closely with institutions. We are all appreciative of the turnaround at NSFAS that has ensured that 2019 students benefiting from NSFAS support are already receiving allowances.

I am aware that there is considerable discontent about the differences between the funding available for students on the new bursary conditions, and those subject to the old criteria and conditions. Unfortunately, we are in a situation where we cannot equalise all funding overnight. A phased in approach was essential, to manage the level of funding available to government. Last year, government ensured that the food allowance was equalised for all NSFAS students, on the new and old NSFAS criteria.

In consultation with NSFAS and in response to the concerns of students raised regarding the costs of learning materials, I have decided that we will immediately standardise the learning material allowance for all university NSFAS-qualifying students with immediate effect. Every NSFAS-qualifying student at a contact public higher education institution, registered for 2019, will receive the full R5000 learning material allowance.

UNISA students are students in a distance education institution. However, I acknowledge the difficulties that NSFAS beneficiaries at UNISA are encountering. In that regard, I am also pleased to announce that qualifying students with full-time course loads at UNISA will receive the R2750 per annum incidental allowance from 2019.

I have requested NSFAS to process appeals as a matter of urgency and I have been re-assured it is receiving priority attention.

5. The outstanding 2018 Sbux funds.

R154 million is still to be distributed to SBux-receiving students. The NSFAS Call Centre is tracing these students to ensure that the unclaimed funds can be disbursed. NSFAS is also working closely with the various institutions to ensure that students are identified and outstanding funds disbursed. Students who have outstanding funds due to them are requested to contact the NSFAS Call Centre urgently.

6. Student funding delays from other sponsors and bursary funders leading students to be denied access to registration.

I appeal to all sponsors and bursary funders supporting students at our public institutions to honour their commitments to ensure that students are able to register and receive allowances as per their agreements with students and to allow them to succeed.

7. Denial of universities to issue out academic records and certificates.

I have engaged Universities South Africa on this matter and I am happy to report that they have committed to ensure that all institutions make academic records available to all students, regardless of their outstanding fees to an institution. While certificates may be withheld by institutions, every student has a right to receive their academic transcripts so that they are able to find meaningful employment.

8. Academic exclusion and poor conditions of learning.

Academic matters and the conditions of learning are matters that individual universities must address and remain a priority of the system. As part of the transformation of the university system, significant emphasis is being placed not only on providing means for students to access university, but on student success, ensuring that conditions of learning improve and that students are able to succeed.

The University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG) is one mechanism intended to enable universities to improve student and staff support, as well as curriculum development. The total allocation for the UCDP over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) is more than R2.5 billion.

9. The plight of students with a disability and international students.

There is sufficient funding available for students with disabilities at all public TVET colleges and universities. I appeal to students to come forward to access this funding, and for institutions to support students in applying through the appropriate mechanisms. Funding is also available for assistive devices. This targeted funding is available to all students in the income category up to R600 000 family income per annum. This year the allocation is R91 million.

Regarding international students, in particular Zimbabwean students and visa delays, I am informed that there has been discussion with IEASA and Home Affairs and individual institutions to allow places to be kept open for students who have been affected by the delays in processing visas. This work is ongoing. I am also informed that the visa backlog is being addressed and many students have been able to enter the country. We are committed to assisting in addressing these matters with Departments of Home Affairs, International Relations and Cooperation, and universities, where possible.
10. Unfair treatment of security guards and cleaners and the in-sourcing of general workers
Labour relations matters are the domain of institutions, and have to be addressed with specific institutions and through Universities South Africa (USAf). There are different approaches being adopted across the system.

11. Compromised student safety and security, victimization of student leaders through suspensions and expulsions, security and police brutality.

The Department and the Ministry are extremely concerned about violence on any of our campuses. This includes violence by security officers and police, as well as violence during protests. The Department supports the rights of all students to peaceful protest and open rational dialogue, and urges students to utilise the formal channels available to them at their respective institutions to raise matters of urgent concern and to make proposals about areas requiring change.

The Department is concerned about campus security and is committed to work with USAF and institutions to improve on the capacity of institutions to maintain peace and keep campuses safe and secure. This includes the possibility of training security officers for public order security and looking at sector-wide guidelines, as well as working with the professional bodies of the security industry.
The Department has put aside an amount of R10 million to immediately conduct an audit together with students and management in universities and TVET colleges, of security infrastructure and health care facilities at all our public institutions. I have instructed my Department to begin this work immediately.

12 The urgent challenges of higher education transformation affecting both students and workers.

In conclusion, I urge that we continue engaging passionately about the challenges faced by all of us in building a productive, inclusive and sustainable university education system. I respectfully request all stakeholders to make use of the multiple channels available to all of us to ensure that we engage in a calm and peaceful way. We cannot support violence and threats and disruptions to the academic programme. I urge the leaders of universities and student formations as well as parents to continue working together to resolve difficult matters. My Department and I will do whatever we can to support the higher education sector.

As received

Classes resume on Monday, 18 February 2019

To all students and the University staff

Executive Management wishes to thank all of you for your patience during the negotiations. Please be informed that after consultations with the SRC, classes will resume on Monday, 18 February 2019.

Executive Management will still be in consultations with the SRC to ensure that there is a seamless resumption of classes.

With regards,

Another MUT student passes away

The Dean of Students, Thembi Kweyama wishes to apprise you on the death of the late Sibusiso Majola who was a 2nd year IT student. Sibusiso drowned at Amanzimtoti beach on 6 February 2019. He was with his two friends, who are also MUT students. His body was discovered on 9 February 2019 at Umgababa. His friends were rescued and have been referred to the Student Counselling Unit for support. Sibusiso will be laid to rest at his home in Mtubatuba on Saturday, 16 February 2019.

We would like to request staff to donate generously. Please contact the Dean of Students in this regard.

MUT student passes away after a short illness

It is with sadness that MUT Student Affairs reports the passing away of a female student, Pamella Hlabisa, after a short illness. Pamella was laid to rest at Nquthu, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, today, on 10 February 2019. Pamella was a third year Marketing student. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time.

SRC Request and management responses

Following the meeting between Executive Management, SRC and Dr Sipho Nzimande (DHET Mediator) held on 07 February 2019, hereunder are the SRC requests and Management responses: –

1. Registration of ±600 students who are owing fees and the extension of registration

Management response: ­ Agreed, that they will be registered, provided the academic criteria is met.

Registration will be extended till Friday, 15 February 2019.

2. Fees raised without consultation, including the increase in the deposit for residences

Management response: The issue will be referred to EXCO / Council for consideration. The issue of the residence deposit will be relooked urgently by Management and a response released by close of business on Monday, 11 February 2019.

3.  Intake and enrolment increase of 10 per programme

Management response: Agreed to admit +- 260 students to be spread across the Faculties of Management and Natural Sciences faculties in keeping with the enrolment targets. In addition, all the returning qualifying students will be accommodated.

4.  NFAS appeals to be allowed to register

Management response: All NSFAS appealing students will be admitted provided proof of appeal is provided and students qualify. The Finance Division will check if the appeal is registered with NSFAS.

5.  Allowances decreased from 2018

Management response: The mediator agreed to take this matter up with the DHET.

6.  Academic records

Management response:   All students will be able to access their academic records through the student portal even if fees are outstanding. Students pursuing WIL will be assisted by the Cooperative Education Department and the releasing of academic records to graduates who are owing will be urgently considered by Senate / Senex of the University.

7.  Postgraduate Students to be given accommodation

Management response: Postgraduate students are currently allowed to register irrespective of the amount owing. Students who require accommodation are required to pay the requisite deposit. Current students who have been erroneously placed in residences will be assisted by Mr Ngidi in consultation with the SRC and the Dean of Students.

8.  General support services

Management Responses

(i)  Extension of library hours 24/7

The human resource and financial implications of extending Library hours will be looked at immediately, however in the interim, smaller lecture venues will be made available for students for studying purposes.

(ii)  Inadequate printing facilities – require printing facilities

Currently we have four heavy duty printers in the library and one in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. The Main Library is currently coping with the demand, however the printer in the Natural Sciences is currently being looked at in terms of its functionality.

(iii)  Inadequate Clinic services 24/7

Currently, ambulance services are available 24/7 through the Protection services department, however the VC and the Mediator will be pursuing the extension of services through the Health MEC.

(iv)  Inadequate Computer Laboratories 24/7

The opening of the computer laboratories for extended periods will be looked at immediately.

 

Dr ED Malaza

08 February 2019