The University of Cape Town opened on 17th October 2016 under conditions of student protest related to local University issues and the national demand for free decolonised education. All undergraduate face-to-face classes were subsequently suspended in other faculties within the University. However, in the Faculty of Health Sciences face-to-face classes, which are essential to teaching and learning, were continued with a view to completing all teaching activities in 2016.
Over the past three days, the Faculty has faced ongoing and widespread disruption of classes in the first three years of our undergraduate academic programmes which have made it intolerable to continue with the teaching and learning programme. Many students have not attended class because of their involvement in protest action at the University of Cape Town or given the stressful conditions they encountered in most teaching situations. This situation has unfortunately led to division and conflict amongst students, and high levels of stress amongst our staff. The conditions have deteriorated to a point where they are no longer conducive to teaching and learning.
The Dean and the Dean’s Advisory Committee have decided to suspend all teaching and learning activities in Years 1-3 of all the undergraduate programmes, with a plan to complete teaching and examinations in a mini-semester in January 2017 (A mini-semester is a brief period of continued teaching on 2016 academic work at the start of 2017, followed by the final examinations that should have taken place in November 2016). We therefore anticipate that the first teaching activities of the 2017 academic year will start later than usual.
Since all teaching activities in Years 1 to 3 are being suspended, students are free to return home with immediate effect.
The Faculty is committed to partner with the Provincial and National Departments in providing health and social development support through service delivery and clinical teaching and training. The final year students in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Studies and the 4th to 6th year students in the MBChB programme who receive clinical training on the health service platform will complete their studies in 2016.
Programme and year conveners will post details of the 2017 mini-semester teaching and assessment plans, including dates for students to return in 2017, on Vula within the next few weeks. Students who do not have access to Vula can contact Ms Brenda Klingenberg in the Faculty Office by the end of November to establish when they must return to the University (tel 021 4066650).
Should students have questions related to teaching activities at this stage, they are kindly asked to put those questions via their class representatives
Anyone with concerns or queries about non-academic issues (such as accommodation, transport, etc) is invited to contact Ms Brenda Klingenberg in the Faculty Office (tel 021 406 6650 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
We trust that both students and staff will find some relief from the on-going stress in the weeks ahead. The Dean and the Dean’s Advisory Committee commit themselves to doing everything in their power to continue with constructive dialogue aimed at finding solutions to our current crisis, in the interest of all of our staff and students.