Students who caused disturbances at Limkokwing University of creative Technology during the recent class boycotts will face disciplinary actions.
The institution has been plagued by boycotts in the past month such that it had to close for a week. The police had to be called in as students turned rowdy and teargas had to be used to disperse them.
Campus Manager Zachariah Mthethwa, speaking during a media reception held at the campus, said they had rules and regulations.
“We have rules and regulations as an institution which will be followed accordingly in enforcing discipline to those students who caused disturbances during the strike action. You will be informed of the resolutions of the university in due time. Limkokiwng is committed in developing and shaping the future of our students,” he said.
Mthethwa revealed that before the strike action by the students last month they had already sorted out the matter of the allowance flexibility in March but the students had other ideas. He said they had since had meeting to resolve their grievances.
“The students wanted to be allowed to use their book allowances with less rigidity for them to buy what they deem to be more imperative for their studies,” he explained. The campus manager said in their discussions with the Student Representative Council (SRC) after the strike, they sought advice from relevant government ministries being the ministry of labour and social security and that of education.
He said both ministries had been instrumental in facilitating the now calm situation. The ministry of labour was very clear that usage of the book allowance would consider textbooks as a priority and the remaining balance could be used by any learning or educational aid.
Despite the resolution by the ministry of labour students still insisted on their need for laptops.
the university management continued to engage the SRC in meetings with an effort to sensitise them about the importance on books for their studies.
Mthethwa said the closure of the institution helped the management and students to reflect on the real importance of education.
He said a neutral body had been engaged through the ministry of labour to help resolve the students concern over the book allowances.
hires 39 locals
The Limkokwing University has hired 39 locals as part of the academic and administration.
Head of Human Resource Bandile Mkhonta said the institution had a staff compliment of 53 people who are of different nationalities.
He said this was evidence that the institution was here to empower locals amongst other things.
He said of the 53 professionals hired by the institutions, nine were Tswanas, two Zambians, Fillipinos, a Kenyan and 39 Swazis.
Out of the workforce, they have one PhD, seven masters and 22 degree holders.
“Having said this, it is important to note the institution is committed in ensuring our graduates gain global perspective of issues, therefore, the engagement of international expertise makes this possible,” he said.
Mkhonta also explained why the institution had less PhD holders in their academic staff. He attributed this to that they were a non conventional university whose curriculum was mainly based on practical than theory.
Mkhonta dispelled the allegations that there was a tourism lecturer who left under a cloud of controversy after she was given a three- month contract.
This was one of the issues that were raised by the students in one of their many boycotts.
Mkhonta said the LUCT offered a 12- months fixed term contracts to its employees.
“These contracts expressly state they terminate automatically on their last day and there will be no automatic renewals,” he said.
The head of HR said last month most employees who were with the institution had their contracts renewed while others did not.
He said this was based on results of staff appraisals.
“The institution also issued out renewals for three months to employees whom it felt did not perform to the anticipated standards during the first 12 months of engagement. This process was also done in writing,” he explained.
He said the institution also offered financial assistance to its employees who want to further their studies.
Landlords reaping students off
Landlords around Sidwashini and surrounding areas have been accused of reaping off students by charging ridiculous rental fees.
Student Services Department Welile Dlamini said they tried helping students find accommodation during the beginning of the year.
She said it became tough for the students as the year went on as the rent doubled.
According to some of the students, the unscrupulous landlords would charge double for a small room.
She made an example that a landlord could charge two students E500 each as they ended up paying E1 000, yet they were supposed to pay half of that.
delay in delivering text books
The management of Limkokwing University has admitted that text books for the students have been delivered late.
This is one of the grievances the students raised in one of their many boycotts, claiming that management was forcing them to take the text books yet they were late and irrelevant to some of the courses as they were already done with them.
The students allege that they struggled through the first semester without books only for them to be delivered after a long period. Head of Academics Agnes Mugo said they were working on the problem.
She said in the first’s semester, they could not order the books on time because they were not yet sure if government would be paying for them.
She said the other reason that contributed to the late arrival of the books was that there was no local supplier.
“When government finally indicated that it would pay for the books, it was three weeks into the semester and we could not find a supplier locally or in South Africa, so we opted for the our regular in London,” she said.
Mugo said they found that most of the books were out of print so they had to wait for several weeks before the books could be delivered.
She said the university wanted to establish itself as a leader in the skill training arena by focusing on equipping students with skills that are essential.
She said their brand was symbolic and always stood out in terms of what they were and what they represented.
The head of academic said in the future they were hoping that they would make Limkokwing Swaziland an African education hub by recruiting students from SADC and beyond.