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Varsity, college students march to the PM tomorrow

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MANZINI – Students from all the tertiary institutions in the country have resolved to march to the Prime Minister’s Office tomorrow.

They will also pay the Ministry of Labour and Social Security a visit to deliver a petition. The close to 200 students took this resolution yesterday during a meeting at Bosco Skills Centre in Manzini.
The meeting had been organised by the Swaziland National Union of Students.
It was attended by students from the University of Swaziland, all three campuses, Ngwane Teacher Training College, Swaziland College of Technology, William Pitcher College and Nazarene College both teacher and nursing colleges.

Bheki Khumalo, President of SNUS said the meeting unanimously took the resolution to march to the PM’s Office, and to the Minister of Labour and Social Security Magobetane Mamba to deliver a petition which will be signed by all the Student Representative Councils from all the tertiary institutions.

He said the Minister of Education will also get a copy of the petition. Khumalo said the petition will address issues such as  student’s personal allowances, the issue of the draft scholarship policy and that of free primary education.
He said the petition will also try to make government recognise SNUS as a representative body of students in the country.

“Students feel that government should talk to SNUS when students have concerns so that they (students) can spend more time in class,” said Shongwe.
He said this meant that there won’t be classes in all the institutions of higher learning. Khumalo said the aim of yesterday’s student summit, which was a first of its kind, was to show government that SNUS, which she does not want to recognise, is able to call all students from tertiary institutions together.

He said they were worried about government because instead of listening to students concerns she oppresses them by using force. He said issues which were discussed during the meeting included the draft scholarship policy which government is working on.
“There are dangerous clauses in the draft policy which have the potential of causing unrests in the country as they affected everyone in the country,” he said.

He said another issue which they discussed was that of Free Primary Education, which government is allegedly using to replace sponsoring students at tertiary level. As students, he said they believed that government should sponsor tertiary education so that it can stabilise the country economically, politically and socially.

“We also discussed the issue of personal allowances, which they feel is lower than it should be. He said the E462 received by university students was last reviewed in 1992. On this issue we are saying students cannot survive on this money,” he said.
He said they were shocked to learn that government now intends to remove the personal allowance without consulting them.

Speakers during the meeting, which started after 11 am included representatives from all the tertiary institutions. All the speakers voiced their concerns over the issues which were discussed during the meeting.
Pius Vilakati, President of the UNISWA SRC said as tertiary institutions they should show government that they cannot be separated.

He said Magobetane Mamba, Minister of Labour has always said they were still working on the issue of personal allowances since last year but nothing tangible has come out.

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