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25 Mar 2008 14:40
South Africa’s university students need to spend less than seven years passing their first year, and improved toyi-toying skills will not improve the country, Minister of Education Naledi Pandor told students at the University of Zululand on Tuesday.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the official opening of three student residences, Pandor said: “We haven’t come here to improve our toyi-toying skill. It doesn’t improve South Africa.”
Urging students to take their studies seriously, she said the country cannot afford to have students spending seven years at a university without passing their first year.
Pandor warned that apart from the skills shortage the country faces, there is also a growing shortage of experienced academia at tertiary institutions.
She said the government is looking at ways to improve the packages of academic staff as well as provide incentives that will encourage students to pursue honours and doctorate studies.
“I have the ambition to ensure that this becomes a quality institution situated in a rural area,” she said, adding that the University of Zululand also faces the problem of attracting top academics to lecture at the institution.
She said universities need to continually update and modernise their curricula.
“The world is watching what each of our institutions is doing,” she said.
Prior to the official opening of the residences, Pandor met the university’s management as well as student leaders.
She urged the management—to loud cheers from students—to install air conditioning in the university’s library.
The chancellor of the university, Jacob Zuma, arrived to loud cheers as Pandor was about to address students at the residences.
Zuma welcomed the construction of the residences, saying that further expansion is required at the institution.
He urged businesses in the Richards Bay area to invest in the university.—Sapa
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