21 August 2012

Swaziland: Boycotting Students Close University

Photo: Swaziland Solidarity Network Forum
Swaziland anti-government protests in 2011: The students and other pro-democracy activists are this week drawing attention to the lack of human rights in Swaziland.

Protesting students have forced the closure of Swaziland's only state university after they refused to attend classes in a dispute over scholarships.

Three students were shot with rubber bullets at close range by police, including two who were hit in the head, when they attempted to march on the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to deliver a petition last week.

Students had been boycotting classes at the university since the present semester began eight days ago.

The dispute is over the number of scholarships the Swazi Government is paying this year. Students say 700 people who were granted places to study at Uniswa and other colleges in Swaziland have been denied scholarships.

The government previously said it would not grant scholarships for a number of courses it felt were not priorities for the kingdom's needs, including many in the humanities and journalism.

Uniswa announced yesterday (20 August 2012) that it would close indefinitely and ordered students from two of its three campuses to go home, which they did. The university says the students' boycott is illegal.

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