The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Management and the leadership of the University’s Student Representative Council (SRC) reached an agreement on Sunday, 25 October 2015, following discussions of the joint government and universities’ decision to implement a 0% fee increase for 2016, and related matters.
The statement of agreement was signed by the UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Ihron Rensburg and President of UJ’s SRC, Mr Khutso Rammutla. The following statement of agreement is issued to the University’s students, staff and stakeholders:
- 0 % fee increase for 2016 – UJ shall implement the zero percent fee increase for 2016. This shortfall amounts to R199 M and the University shall introduce austerity measures in 2016 to make up for part of the shortfall. Details of these austerity measures will be shared in due course. The state is expected to make up for the remainder of this shortfall.
- Free Higher Education – That deliberations and related student mobilisation on this important issue are at both institutional and national levels and that this is expected to continue into the New Year until a resolution is reached. The University shall continue to lobby and work with peer institutions and the government for the implementation of the free education dispensation, with particular reference the urban and rural poor.
- Outsourcing – That in recognition that outsourcing is the source for low wages, that the University shall immediately establish a task team that includes management, labour representatives, the UJSRC and labour experts to develop a proposal and plan on the possible insourcing of cleaning and security services. A proposal to that effect shall be submitted to Council for consideration in its first meeting which shall not be later than March 2016.
- Decolonisation of knowledge – That in recognition that 21 years after the end of apartheid, very little curricular progress has been made in respect of inserting African philosophies, epistemologies and contextual realities into undergraduate and postgraduate learning and teaching, the University will immediately establish a task team that will include Senators and students to deliberate on the concept and process of decolonising knowledge, and the development of modules that will be incorporated into future curriculum, and not later than 2017. In this regard an initial approach was discussed that could include for example compulsory undergraduate modules exploring topics such as Key Themes in African History, Great African Philosophers of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Important Anti-colonial struggles of the 20th Century, the State of the Post-colony – Progress and Retrogression, and, Critical Citizenship in the 21st Century.
- Transformation – That while the University is recording good progression in respect of the diversity of its student and staff body, including its major initiative to accelerate the academic progress of Black and Women academic staff, the University shall accelerate these efforts, and that clear and specific actions must be taken to struggle for and to create diverse, welcoming and affirmative cultures and traditions. The University’s new agenda for transformation, as well as its monitoring mechanisms, will also be the subject of the University’s Council review and planning meeting in November 2015.
- No disciplinary action will be taken by the University against students who participated peacefully in the student protest.
- The court interdict that the University obtained will remain in place for the protection of the University community and property. It should be noted that the interdict will only be invoked if the safety and security of students, staff, or University property are threatened.
- The academic calendar is revised with immediate effect. To take account of the disruption of the academic calendar that has affected both staff and students, classes and tests that were scheduled for 22 and 23 October 2015 and that have not taken place, will be rescheduled to take place from 28 to 30 October 2015; study break (block week) shall now be from 31 October to 06 November 2015; and, examinations shall now commence on 7 November 2015. Supplementary examinations are rescheduled for 7 to 11 December.