SOUTH AFRICAN GOVT HAS DONE EVERYTHING TO GET STUDENTS BACK INTO CLASSES – EDUCATION MINISTER

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says the South African government has done everything possible to convince students to resume lectures.

He was reacting to the ongoing protests at universities and pledges from students leaders to lock down the institutions. Scores of students have been arrested since the protests started last month. Nzimande has cautioned students against the danger of having criminal records.

He says: "We would really like to urge students and anybody else who knows who is actually doing these things to come forward and point at them so that they can be handed over to law enforcement agencies. The fact that there are fifty students who are in prison, students must understand that they will have to deal with the consequences of illegal or criminal actions that they are involved in because as the country we have to protect public property as well as protect life."

The conflict relating to free tertiary education could undo some of the progress made in efforts to achieve national unity.

That's the opinion of psychologist Sheethal Behari, who says the Fees Must Fall protests have unearthed many issues around race and class.

A General Assembly planned by Wits University was postponed, because students and management could not agree on various issues.

This week another group of students formed the Take Wits Back movement, calling for the resumption of lectures.

Behari says in general, protests tend to reveal unresolved wounds of the past.

"We need to be more proactive as a society. We're not addressing this when there's calm in society. We're waiting for something like this to happen. Those are dialogues and narratives that are going to become important for us moving forward."

Meanwhile, Shelton Kartun of the Anger and Stress Management group says the Fees Must Fall protests demonstrates why we need to teach our children how to cope with conflict and stress.

He says developing emotional intelligence is key to navigating through contentious issues, such as the impasse over higher education fees.

Several universities remain closed as negotiations with students stall. Kartun says children largely learn conflict management from society.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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