13 January 2011
Since the 5th of January our branches, regions and provinces as part of our Right To Learn Campaign have been stationed in campuses trying to ensure that students are registered and are not denied access as has tended to happen. We will formally launch our Right 2 Learn Campaign on the 21st January with a Rally at the University of Stellenbosch. This Rally will be addressed by Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi and SASCO President Mbulelo Mandlana.
As an annual SASCO campaign the right to learn campaign does not only seek to resolve the immediate questions of access to higher education but through it we seek to keep on the agenda that the ultimate solution in relation to access is the provision of free education. The 2011 campaign entails this theme as well. We will leave no stone unturned in our quest to ensure that all students are registered. The 2011 Right 2 Learn Campaign is more special to us as it occurs in the year where SASCO celebrates 20 years of existence!
Zuma's comments on Free Education
We - cautiously - welcome assertions by ANC President that this year will result in the incremental introduction of Free Education for the poor. Although this is a milestone, we believe until this is implemented it is time for cautious-optimism. We are cautious in this because we are well aware that the full implementation of Free Education does not just rely on government philanthropy but on heroic student struggles.
These pronunciations are welcome because they continue to vindicate us as an organisation for we have been, since time immemorial, rallying students and society behind the notion of free education. The Ministry of Higher Education ought now to practically answer the question of when and how, in terms of both policy and broad political leadership. Even in the presence of this progressive declaration our Free Education Campaign will take place to ensure that the state walks the talk. Our Free Education Campaign will take place somewhere in February.
Refusal of Students by Wits, UJ etc
We are extremely disgusted by the irresponsible behaviour of turning away students by the University of Johannesburg and Wits University in particular. These and other similar institutions have become notorious for their careless treatment of the aspirations and yearnings for education by working class youth. We call on our structures in all four campuses of the University of Johannesburg and at the Wits University to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that they turn the screws against this nonsensical behaviour, even if this includes strikes and ferocious protests.
Absence of Universities in Mpumalanga and in the Northern Cape
We are of the firm view that the throngs of students that will be left on street corners unable to find space in institutions of Higher Learning will also be because of the absence of Universities in both Mpumalanga and in the Northern Cape. We are worried that the pace with which the building of Universities in both these provinces is painstakingly slow.
We are also perturbed that post-1994 the democratic government does not even have one University to its name when the apartheid regime took a couple of years and it had built Afrikaner Universities. Rather than see these, we have seen the construction of the Gautrain, procurement of arms in peacetime etc. This points to jinxed priorities, for a country that has been ravaged by racial exclusion for hundreds of years.
In most instances students who do not find space in universities turn to FET colleges some of who are not registered. We urge students to be vigilant in their pursuit of FET colleges because of the presence of cash thirsty vultures disguised as FET colleges. The previous year we discovered more than 10 bogus colleges who collectively had enrolled more than 2 thousand students in the Johannesburg area alone. Most of these colleges were duly closed down and their owners are embroiled in court cases. Unfortunately, the lives of students were delayed with an entire year.
Issued by SASCO
Mbulelo Mandlana, President, 071 879 3408
Lazola Ndamase, Secretary General, 082 679 8718