BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
FIFTEEN National University of Science and Technology (Nust) students were arrested yesterday for staging a demonstration at the college campus.
The students were protesting against the continued industrial action by lecturers who are demanding a pay hike. Only two of the arrested students had been released last night, sources said.
Bulawayo acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele declined to comment on the matter yesterday.The students last week tried to stage another demonstration which was thwarted by police.
Their concern was lecturers were not attending to them for the past three weeks.The most affected students were the parallel classes that have reportedly not been learning since the beginning of this semester.
Student Representative Council president Dennis Mwashita yesterday told Southern Eye that anti-riot police swamped the campus in the morning and crushed the demonstration before arresting some of the students.“Dogs were set loose, students were heavily assaulted and taken into custody,” he said.
“The demonstration is still going on (as at 9am), other students have been displaced, but we are still trying to gather them around. We have been trying to contact the administration, but they are not available or they are not interested.”
In a statement, the SRC president earlier on had said it was now clear that their administration had failed to deliver quality education.
“We regret to inform the authorities that if the official and principal business at a university is denied, we are demanding the halting of any activity on campus.
We must remind the authorities that they have forced us out of class and, indeed, we shall stay out of class unless resolute action is taken to end this crisis,” read the statement.
“It has become clear that our administration has failed to deliver its sacred mandate to provide quality learning in a conducive environment. It is with uncertainty that students are frustrated by the persistent strike by the teaching staff. For about three weeks now, Nust students have not been learning, particularly the parallel students.”
The SRC said ongoing lecturers strike had become a heavy burden on students paying exorbitant prices in rentals, food and transport, but being turned down every day because there were no lectures.
Contacted for comment, Nust spokesperson Felix Moyo said: “On Friday last week, we had agreed with NUSTEDA (Nust Educators Association) to continue with the lectures, we are trying to understand what is going on,” he said.
A memorandum released by Nust administration yesterday read: “This serves to confirm that management has committed to settle obligations arising from the above on a monthly basis, as semester progresses.”.