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Change the world


This article appeared in The Herald of 25 January, written by Devon Koen.

THE movement has shown that universities are key sites where inequality and exclusion continue to grow.

This was said by NMMU deputy vice-chancellor for institutional support Dr Sibongile Muthwa at the welcoming ceremony for first-year students on Saturday.

Muthwa commended students involved in the

movement for bringing to focus other issues in higher education such as the outsourcing of support staff.

Speaking at the Indoor Sports Centre at the south campus, Muthwa said: “This exposition by students has portrayed universities, in particular, as key sites where inequality and exclusions continue . . .

“To this end, students have also resurfaced a conversation on decolonising the university.

“This is a proud and defining event in our academic calendar when we welcome all parents, families and guardians and our first-year students.”

She said more than 6 000 first-year students were enrolled for 2016.

“You now form part of the 27 000-strong student body, studying in 450 programmes and 130 career fields,” she said.

“Since around October 2015 . . . the movement and related campaigns demanded a zero percent – or what we also refer to as “no-fee increase” for 2016 – as well as debt relief for historic debt, with a view we believe, to pursuing widened access to a university education and free higher education, at least for poor students, as an expression of the right to learn,” she said.

Muthwa said the activism shown by students brought into focus issues of poverty and inequality.

By January 19, NMMU had received 57 776 applications, up on last year’s 35 424.

NMMU spokeswoman Debbie Derry said the vast increase in applications was mainly due to students being able to apply online.

Derry said NMMU had already assisted 3 735 students with debt relief.

“[NMMU] will help a further 2 780 students with down payment relief for 2016,” she said.


Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057