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KZN regional SRC guided on the intricacies of student leadership

The student leadership in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Region attended an induction and workshop in Durban on 2 June 2021.

The induction, which was attended by all members of the SRC and KZN regional management officials, was coordinated by the Student Development Directorate in collaboration with the KZN regional management, and facilitated by Mr Bheki Tshabangu: Training, Research and Capacity Building Specialist.

The student leadership were given an introduction to what being SRC members entails, and what is expected of them. Xolani Dubazane shared that although he has been with Unisa for more than 20 years, every day and every year always feels different because our university is a unique, very complex and dynamic institution of higher learning. He then highlighted the importance of the SRC by pointing out that according to the King IV Code on Corporate Governance, all organisations are encouraged to take the issue of stakeholder participation very seriously. Unisa was therefore explicitly implementing this code of good governance by involving student structures in the university’s decision-making platforms.

SRC members in attendance

Elaborating on Dubazane’s address, the KZN Regional Director, Dr Joyce Myeza, offered insight into the KZN Region. “The region draws its students from far-flung rural areas as well as from modern cities and towns across the province,” she said. “It is the Unisa region with the second-largest number of students.” Acknowledging the complexities associated with the KZN region, she commended the SRC for their genuine and consistent commitment in serving the students, noting that within the short space of time she had been with Unisa, she had noticed the commitment and dedication of the regional SRC in highlighting a number of issues and difficulties faced by students.

Myeza exhorted the SRC members to encourage their constituencies to embrace change – especially ICT-driven change, which has been accelerated by the demands introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic. She expressed the view that the university has now embraced change in everything that it does and urged students to do the same, because, she said, “we will never return to the world as we knew it before the pandemic”.

Student leadership responded by welcoming what a number of speakers had said regarding the ‘new normal’ and indicating that in as much as they accepted the new reality, they nevertheless exhorted the university not to leave any student behind when embracing technological changes.

SRC Chairperson in the region, Lungi Nhlenyama, explained that in light of their mandate from the students and the pressure that comes with this, university management needed to understand the heavy burden borne by the SRC when conveying student demands to university management. “However,” she said, “I commit my team to working together with university management in seeking solutions to the ever-present problems at Unisa.”

The induction session was also addressed by all departments with staff and offices in the region, and information about available services and assistance that can be extended to the SRC and students at large was shared. Acting Deputy Director of Student Development, Lizette le Roux, closed the session by emphasising the open-door policy of the Student Development Directorate and invited SRC members to utilise the services of this department to the benefit of all Unisa students.

* By Siyabonga Seme, Manager: Communications, KZN Region

 

Publish date: 2021/06/09