Wits students reach late night agreement

The agreement was struck after the SRC accepted a new 9-point plan from management.

Wits University students sing and dance during a third day of protests on campus over proposed tuition fee increases on 16 October 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University says management and students have agreed that all academic activities will resume from Wednesday and the exams will be postponed and restructured.

The late night agreement was struck after the SRC accepted a new nine-point plan from management after nearly three days of talks with students.

In the new plan, the university committed to restructuring the academic programme and exam timetable, re-examining the upfront fee payment for 2016 and establishing an internal commission to look into outsourcing.

In a statement, the outgoing and incoming SRC say shutting down the university was a short term strategy used to secure the 0 percent fee increase.

But it says the movement's strategies must evolve to achieve long-term goals of free education, adding that many students wish to continue their call and write their upcoming exams.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel says following these discussions among themselves, students accepted the academic program will resume.

"Wits management will meet with the SRC members to look at how we can go forward and elaborate on the negotiations and how they will pan out in the coming weeks."

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She says a revised exam timetable will be communicated to staff and students by the end of this week.

Patel says while the exams have been postponed they will be written before the end of the academic year.

Wits University says it's proud that its students have put affordable, quality education on the National Agenda in just two weeks, adding that many have been struggling for decades.

Patel says, "They have been able to do in a week or 10 days what many people and stakeholders have been trying to do for two decades now. They placed on the National Agenda the issue of affordable quality higher education and we believe that this something that will be beneficial for South Africans."

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In its statement, the SRC says this does not spell the end of the Fees Must Fall movement and they will now re-strategise to achieve the more long-term goals - while writing their exams.

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