The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training has commended Stellenbosch University (SU) for consideration of a proposal to facilitate all learning activities at the institution in English.
This move should be viewed as progressive, especially in light of the transformation efforts that are underway not only at SU but at other institutions in the country, said Committee Chairperson Ms Yvonne Phosa.
“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 Ms Phosa.
She added that other institutions which still faced transformation concerns should 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 regards.”
She further urged all the relevant stakeholders to support this proposal on the language policy change, adding that any opposition to it would be reversing the transformation gains that were steadily being made. Ms Phosa also commended the management for ensuring that the voices of the students and other concerned stakeholders on the language policy were heeded and English as the lingua franca of the country was opted for as a medium of instruction.
“The university management heard the call by all and promptly moved in a responsive manner by ensuring that they address the concerns raised. As long as students raise legitimate issues, the management has to find a way of engaging with them to work on an amicable solution,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Phosa also spoke out against the violence that erupted at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) following students’ protests. “We condemn the violent protests that have been taking place at UWC and CPUT. It was so undesirable to see the university’s property being vandalised and people being hurt only because students want to make their point to be heard.
“Students have to realise that their rights to protest do not have to infringe on the rights of others and subsequently lead to vandalism and ugly scenes.” Ms Phosa 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.”
Ms Phosa further urged all students to desist from any further protest action and focus on their exams in cases where such were still scheduled to go ahead. “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.
“The students have raised critical issues that are of national and personal importance and these should certainly be dealt,” concluded Ms Phosa.
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SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS