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SCOT closed after boycott

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MBABANE – Police littered the Swaziland College of Technology yesterday as management indefinitely closed down the institution following a class boycott by students.

The college’s principal Casper Dube issued a memorandum to the students giving them an ultimatum to have vacated the insti-tution’s premises by 12:30pm. This after students from four departments continued with their protest action over outstanding allowances dating back to 2011/2012 academic year.

About 120 third-year students are demanding about E7 000 each which they said was supposed to have been part of their allowances while they were on attachment with different companies during the last academic year.

The students were supposed to receive around E22 000 each but ended up receiving E15 000 and are now demanding the balance but management is alleged to be avoiding the matter by ignoring the students each time they brought it up. The affected students are doing a Diploma in Quantity Surveying, National Diploma in Automotive, Diploma in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.

Bigman Dlamini, who is a student representative and an affected student, said they were not at all happy about the manner in which the college principal went about closing down the institution. "The principal first called all class representatives to his office. On getting there, he didn’t give them any chance to explain the action taken by the students. He simply gave them a memorandum stating that students should vacate the college by 12:30pm," Dlamini said.

He said the principal should have allowed class representatives to give their side of the story instead of taking a unilateral decision. "The class representatives wanted to explain that only 120 students (from four departments) were on strike and not the entire student population. That’s the reason we don’t understand why he elected to close down the college," Dlamini said.

The students did not defy the memorandum but were seen leaving the college with their bags and suitcases heading for the nearest bus-station.

At least four police Casper vehicles were found parked at the entrance of the institution and a large number of officers were on board. Close to 50 other officers were found stationed inside the institution carrying guns and batons.

The officers were deployed in strategic points inside the college. Efforts to get comment from the principal were not successful yesterday as he was reported to have left the office.


Comments

The ugly scene of Caspers outside a learning compound shows just how much this country is in turmoil. The situation is simple: our leaders have been greedy; they show no signs of hanging; hence, we need new ones. We have no functional university in the Kingdom, the obligatory high school certificate (SGSCE) is considered useless by top tier universities in neighboring countries such as RSA and we have a completely demotivated teaching force. It's useless to ask for resources to reform our dysfunctional education system if those in charge of managing them are greedy and incompetent. The solution to this problem is conspicuous, even to the illiterate. Remember that life has a canny knack of finding an equilibrium. So to the incumbents who threw us into this mess, be mindful of the angry and virile youth on the streets who now seek to (and will) bring that very balance.
Feb 15, 2012, 7:54 AM, Gekko (939gekko@hotmail.com)

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