Cape Town – Burning schools, libraries, and institutions of higher learning sets South Africa back from progressing as a nation, University of the Western Cape (UWC) chancellor Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said on Saturday.
“I am deeply pained by the instability at higher education institutions across the country. Our universities, colleges, and schools are important heritage sites for our communities,” he said in a statement.They preserved the history and the knowledge and the deeds of the leaders of yesterday and served in the education and growth of the leaders of tomorrow. It was this dream for the future leaders of South Africa that had to be protected.
“The burning of schools, libraries, and institutions of higher learning sets us back from progressing as a nation. It is in these schools, libraries, and institutions where people’s lives have been transformed,” Makgoba said.
The role played by some of these institutions during apartheid to contribute to the freedom enjoyed today should not be forgotten.
“These institutions have not only molded current leaders and those before us, but have transformed the lives of children and families who come from the dusty streets of rural Limpopo or those who come from Langa, Mitchells Plain, Manenberg, and other townships and rural areas around the country.
“Let us give a space to the fees commission to do its work and await its recommendations with regard to the feasibility of free education for the poor. Let us give the ministry of higher education and [National] Treasury a space to implement their new plans to assist the ‘missing middle’ by introducing a new funding model for 2017,” Makgoba said.
“We must protect our students’ right to learn in a conducive and enabling environment. As we need to respect students’ right to peacefully protest we must also respect students’ right to peacefully continue the academic programme without interruptions and intimidation. Parents, take responsibility, our children come from homes, families, and communities.
“With so much inequality and poverty in this country let us refrain from deepening the divide through destructive actions. Violence and destructive action will not bring about the desired solutions,” he said.