Thobile Mlangeni
2 minute read
4 Feb 2021
10:39 am

Mpumalanga Education dept denies leaving students stranded in Russia

Thobile Mlangeni

Zwane says that the department had paid bursaries and monthly stipends in full for all students funded by it.

Picture: iStock.

A group of Mpumalanga students studying in Russia are unsure of their future, as the Department of Education has not given them bursaries.

This was despite the students’ numerous applications and several apparent promises made to them. Some of the students are pursuing careers in medicine and other fields.

They have gone without government’s bursaries for the past three years, despite applying.

The students, speaking through the Russian Student Council, said the nine of them had been guaranteed bursaries for the academic year 2020/21, but still have not received any.

“We were told to apply, which we did, but we never got any form of formal feedback concerning our applications.

“On seeing the delays from the department, we decided to take matters into our own hands. We contacted the MEC’s office and spoke to him, and he said he was not aware of our situation.

“He then said we will get bursaries under the budget allocated for international bursaries every year. We were then referred to the HoD of the department. We reached out to him, countless times,” they said.

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Mpumalanga News learned that the students were even served with letters of expulsion last year. “The school issued us with expulsion letters. We asked them to wait, because we thought the government was going to keep its promise, but still nothing happened.

“We are in serious trouble and suffering financially. The budget was made long ago to cover us since we come from disadvantaged backgrounds,” they said.

Responding to the allegation, the spokesperson for the department, Jasper Zwane, said the group of students were not among the 370 students who had been funded by the department from the onset to study in Russia.

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“It will be wrong for them to say the department promised them anything. Ordinarily they are not an obligation to the department, since they left South Africa on their own,” he said.

“If they had applied for bursaries from the department, they must wait for the adjudication processes,” he said.

Zwane added that the department had paid bursaries and monthly stipends in full for all students funded by it.

This article was republished from Mpumalanga News with permission 

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