Mbabane: Collective students from different universities and colleges gathered in a protest march to deliver a petition to the Prime Minister’s offices.
The students are from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT), University of Eswatini (UNESWA), Southern Africa Nazarene University (SANU) and William Pitcher College.
When addressing the students, Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS)’s Secretary General Simphiwe Dlamini said the students have come to deliver the petition to the PM’s office and they shall not return back to classes until their demands met.
Dlamini read the petition highlighting the students’ demands.
The students demands the following:
1. Scholarship for all admitted students
2. back-pay of allowances from July
3. Increment in allowances informed by the costs of online learning
4. Revision of the scholarship policy
5. Return of suspended SANU students
6. End of police brutality
7. Zero victimization
Meanwhile, speaking to this publication some of the students from LUCT said one thorn in the flesh when it comes to the allowance issue is that they have not received their allowances for three (3) months now. The students said as per their agreement with the government they were supposed to start getting their allowances from August but till today, they have not received anything and sadly there is no communique from the government.
The students said they wonder if the government is going to back pay them their allowances for the past months until this month November.
Meanwhile, the students union highlighted that on Friday Southern African Nazarene University had its list where almost half the students were denied scholarships.
This very reason that led to the closure of the University of Eswatini on Friday after they got their list on Tuesday. Students have been constantly denied their right to education regardless of all the efforts they put in school trying to create a better future for themselves.
The students union said education is a right not a privilege, therefore students can no longer massage this situation and allow it to be their new normal.
According to a statement issued by the union on Sunday, the union said the Scholarship Policy that was introduced in 2012, where it states that the government will create a self-sustaining, revolving fund to cater for students but to date students have non.
The union said the Scholarship Recovery Consortium has recovered a lot of money but there is no much evidence through an increase in the number of awards nor an increment in the allowances.
Prior to 2012 the government used to award every admitted student at tertiary institutions with a scholarship and even had an allowance that would increase yearly with the Cost of Living. By 2011 students who were granted scholarships received allowances over E 26 000 yet today it’s a lousy E 16 500. This serves as evidence that the education sector is not a priority for the government.