Students and management agree on resumption of classes at WSU

Five students sharing a bed in one of the residences at Fort Hare University in East London. Photo supplied.

Walter Sisulu University management has claimed poverty as a reason for not attending to student complaints and demands for improved conditions in the university’s residences.

East London, South Africa

Learning and teaching at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) has been nothing short of drama since the beginning of this year. Classes have been on and off.

At the forefront of student complaints and dissatisfaction are issues relating to poor conditions in their residences, exclusion from registration by the national G7 rule that applies to all universities and lastly a slow and incompatible online residence allocation system that the students have labelled as corrupt and inadequate.

According to university spokesperson, Yonela Tukwayo classes have resumed amid these issues and the university will try to recover the academic time lost.

“There is a long list of issues that students are not happy about. However, the university has no money to immediately attend to the poor residence issues, which seems to be the most paramount. The university is owed about R800-million from unpaid student fees. This was money meant to renovate residences, and probably open up new ones,” said Tukwayo.

The month of May is normally known as graduation season at WSU. Tukwayo said graduation will not be affected by the setbacks and everything is expected to go on as planned.

“Graduation for this year will go on according to schedule. A catch up plan to make up for the time lost will be organized by academics involved.”

Student Representative Council (SRC) president, Mxolisi Zoko confirmed that students have also agreed to go back to class even though some issues were not resolved.

“We have gone back to classes because we know that a lot of academic time has been already lost this year. We are, however, not ignorant of the issues at hand. We hope management will have enough time to address them,” said Zoko.

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SRC member and IT student at Buffalo City site, Zimkhitha Ntshona said they are delighted to be back in classes but cannot shy away from the fact that there are deeper issues that need management to attend to.

“We have been engaging management for a very long time now and we want solutions to our issues. The situation is bad. Even inside the classrooms there is an obvious shortage of furniture,” said Ntshona.

WSU Vice Chancellor Rob Midgely admitted the issue of shortage of space.

“We are doing our level best to make sure that all students are properly accommodated and comfortable. However, I am sure that some of the residences match national educational standards,” said Midgely.

He also pointed out that the university is owed money by students and they believe if this is paid, everything would go back to normal.

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About Chris Gilili 70 Articles
Chris Gilili, a 23 year old freelance journalist based in East London. Graduated from Walter Sisulu University media studies school in 2015. Had a stint with Independent Media, in sports writing. Passionate about news and the media.