NMMU resuming operations on Friday - expects classes to open on Monday
The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), which has been closed since the 21st of September after #FeesMustFall protests broke out on its campuses, and countrywide, on Thursday announced that it would resume operations on Friday while the academic year is expected to resume on Monday.
This comes after hundreds of students belonging to the #NMMUFeesMustFall movement on Thursday afternoon marched on the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber's offices in Newton Park, Port Elizabeth, to call on the local business sector to help foot the bill for free education.
On Wednesday night, concerned parents had formed an association to take the NMMU to court over its continued shutdown.
The university reiterated that it supports the call to widen access to quality higher education for academically deserving, financially needy students. It said that it has explored every opportunity to engage with students and various stakeholders to resolve the deadlock relating to the #FeesMustFall demands on its campuses.
Outstanding #Fees Must Fall demands
"NMMU remains committed to exploring all possible avenues to ensure that no academically deserving students are excluded from continuing their studies on financial grounds. To this end, students are urged to participate in the multi-stakeholder Financial Aid Task Team, established specially to work on this particular issue," the university said.
"While these engagements are ongoing, university operations and lectures need to restart in the interests of all students to ensure that the 2016 academic calendar is completed this year.
"As such, NMMU will resume operations tomorrow, 7 October 2016, to ensure readiness for classes."
Commencement of academic activities
"Having done a thorough assessment of the situation with faculties this week, it has become clear that starting academic activities on Monday (10 October 2016) will ensure that we can still complete the academic year by 30 November 2016," the university said.
"Extending the shutdown beyond this point will negatively impact the academic performance of students and put at risk the ability to complete their studies."
Student-friendly academic recovery plans
The NMMU also said that all faculties are in the process of devising academic recovery plans, which will be finalised in consultation with students in their respective faculties.
"Academic activities affected by the shutdown will be re-scheduled, while affording students sufficient time to meet their specific requirements."
The university thanked all students, staff and their families for their patience and perseverance "during these trying times".
"As we move forward, we urge all our stakeholders to participate in collectively formulating solutions aimed at advancing equality and social justice, while ensuring the long-term sustainability of NMMU."
#FeesMustFall protests broke out on the 19th of September across the country after the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, recommended an 8% fee increment for affording students.
The shutdown at the NMMU is now in its third week and the university, last week, stated that if students do not return to class next week, it will be forced to shut down for the 2016 academic year.
That will effectively mean that students will have to repeat the year again in 2017 – a particularly stressful prospect, especially for paying parents as well as international students.
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