Nursing students in classes boycott

February 14, 2008

Nursing students in classes boycott

NO CLASSES, NO WORK PROTEST: Students from the University of Fort Hares Nursing Science College say management will not listen to their pleas for paid training posts.

UNIVERSITY of Fort Hare Nursing Science College students began boycotting classes last week after failing to secure paid training posts in government facilities.

About 200 students took part in the toyi-toyi protest at the East London campus, saying No classes, no work after several attempts to meet with the management apparently failed.

President of the Student Nurses Organisation (SNO), Lwazi Tilolo, said they had tried to meet the head of department, but he was always unavailable.

We want them to listen to our complaints. The prospectus for this year states that every nursing learner who registers at the university shall be appointed to a training post in a health care facility. Second year BCur students do not have those posts, said Tilolo.

He said students needed the posts because some of them used the money to pay for their fees and support their families. Most of us come from disadvantaged backgrounds and we wish the department could realise that, Tilolo said.

He said although the demands were being made by second year students, all the universitys nursing students were supporting the boycott.

Fourth-year student Simthembile Magqadiyane said he had been getting posts since his second year.

Having a post helped me a lot because when I worked I earned some money and supported my family with it and was able to pay the rest of my tuition, said Magqadiyane.

University spokesperson Thamie Mgwigwi said the core issue for the boycott was that second-year BCur students were awarded R30000 worth bursaries by the provincial Department of Health, which they wanted changed to paid student posts. Mgwigwi said the students signed contracts with the department which covered them for four years.

The bursaries are part of the departments attempts to increase access to students interested in nursing to curb the shortage of professional nurses in the province.

He said the universitys executive management was in consultation with the department. They are jointly working on a date for a meeting when this matter will be discussed. The Student Representative Council is aware of this situation and will be involved in these discussions, said Mgwigwi.

He said the management and a representative from the department had addressed the second-year students and explained that the creation of student posts was a lengthy process. – By AVUYILE MNGXITAMA

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