Catholic Bishops appeal to Students and University authorities

We appeal to all our students in the beginning of this academic year to return to lectures and to their academic programmes while continuing their legitimate campaign. We eagerly urge them to consider ways of achieving the outcomes of their campaign without the disruption of the academic programme and without resort to violence and the destruction of property.

On our part, we pledge our support for the call that education be made accessible for all on a more equitable basis and we also pledge our support in negotiations with the various stakeholders.

The private sector has played a vital role up to now and we urge them to ever greater efforts in the building of the financial foundations necessary for education accessible to all and the employment of the young and newly graduated. It is in the interest of the private sector as well as in the interest of the common good that the tertiary education system succeeds.

We recognise that the Government has made huge strides in the transformation of education and we urge a more decisive lead in resolving this crucial issue by bringing together all the stakeholders. In particular, we ask the members of Government to ensure that the issues identified by the students is adequately addressed with due regard to their freedom to demonstrate and the assurance of adequate security.

We urge greater tolerance and understanding on the part of Vice-Chancellors and University Councils who are at the coalface of dealing with the expectations of students for transformation and financial assistance. We would like to see a just and honest reappraisal of the progress made to date and call for boldness and wisdom in interacting with the students and the professional staff.

It is our prayer that the resolution of this crisis will serve the good of all.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Your Bishops

For more information please contact Fr Paul Tatu, Communications Officer of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, on +27 12 323-6458 or +27 78 753-6264.