S African uni­ver­si­ties to re­open de­spite protests

The Myanmar Times - - World -

SEV­ERAL South African uni­ver­si­ties plan to re­sume classes this week after crip­pling protests by stu­dents de­mand­ing free higher ed­u­ca­tion which sparked vi­o­lent clashes with po­lice, of­fi­cials said.

The pres­ti­gious Wits Univer­sity in Jo­han­nes­burg, where lec­tures have been sus­pended for three weeks, will start func­tion­ing again de­spite stu­dents’ warn­ings they will block any such at­tempt.

The univer­sity said the goal of se­cur­ing “free, qual­ity higher ed­u­ca­tion” could be “done at the same time as fin­ish­ing the aca­demic year”.

Stu­dents at Wits threat­ened they would con­tinue the shut-down un­til their de­mand for “free qual­ity de­colonised ed­u­ca­tion” was met.

“No stu­dent should see a year’s worth of work come to naught, along with the fi­nan­cial sac­ri­fices that they and their fam­i­lies have had to make,” Wits Univer­sity said.

It added that stu­dents would be al­lowed to protest but only in “spe­cific iden­ti­fied ar­eas”.

Tsh­wane Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy in Pre­to­ria an­nounced that classes would re­sume to­mor­row, while the Univer­sity of Free State in Bloem­fontein opened yes­ter­day.

How­ever, the Univer­sity of Cape Town – where the stu­dent move­ment has been par­tic­u­larly ac­tive – said it will re­main shut­tered. Pre­to­ria Univer­sity will also stay closed, but staff and stu­dents will meet soon to seek an end to the cri­sis.

The uni­ver­si­ties have been closed for up three weeks dur­ing protests over tu­ition fees, with vi­o­lent clashes reg­u­larly erupt­ing be­tween stu­dents, po­lice and pri­vate se­cu­rity guards.

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