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Committee on Higher Education calls for Peaceful Examinations

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training has called on protesting university students to allow for peaceful examinations for those students who have opted to write.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Connie September, said the Committee has noted the relative calm at most university and that most have been able to finish lectures and start with examinations despite disturbances.

"We should all commit to ensuring that most students succeed in this academic year. No one student should interfere with another's right to write exams. Those that are on the verge of graduating should be allowed to write without problems as their skills are needed in the economy," Ms September said.

"Communities should assist the Inter-ministerial Task Team in finding a solution to the higher education crisis by whatever means possible. The Committee maintains its position that poor students and the category of the missing middle will be taken care of in 2017 and no single student will be turned away from university on financial grounds," she said.

Most universities have been able to finish their academic programmes and have thus started with exams. Some others announced last week that they have abandoned face-to-face teaching for the year.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme received increased funding, as announced by the Finance Minister last week, and is now engaged in an improved funding approach that benefits not only registered students, but also Grade 12 learners who will be registering for the first time.

Ms September called on universities to provide all the necessary assistance and support to protesting students when they decide to write exams. "Vice chancellors should ensure that students are not victimised for having been part of the protests. The student demands are legitimate," she said.

She also voiced concern about the situation in the Western Cape, where violence is still a challenge, and urged students there to finish the academic year.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.
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