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Minister calls for end to student protests

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Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has called for an end to the shutdown of universities by students saying the year was already lost.

Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has called for an end to the shutdown of universities by students saying the year was already lost.

He said the academic year has been shortened after the lockdown began last year and universities were forced to open late.

He told MPs on Tuesday that with the possibility of a third wave the academic year was facing serious problems and urged students to stop the shutdown.

“We are quite anxious that the shutdown must be called off as soon as possible because we are worried that the academic year is already short and let’s make use of all the opportunities on all sides. The sooner we start with the academic year the better,” he said.

He said the third wave could also cause more disruption to the academic year.

“I am glad that some universities have settled like UWC and a few others and Wits is close to settling because the sooner we start the academic year the better. More so also because with the prospect of the third wave which may even delay us even further,” said Nzimande.

Students from across the country have been protesting over historical debt and funding over the last three weeks.

Nzimande also expressed concern about instability at higher education at the start of every academic year.

He said this was not acceptable and said he was doing a study with the University of Zululand on this.

He said a mechanism has to be found to stop the protests at every start of the year.

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Political Bureau