Wits Dental Students Reject University Reply To Demands

University of Witwatersrand Dental School student says students are not happy with the received response from the management. Dental students from the protested over poor working conditions and bad treatment by the university on October 2.

Dental Students At Wits Protest ‘Unhealthy Learning Environment’

In a letter to dental students from the assistant dean of teaching and learning seen by The Daily Vox, the faculty of Health Sciences says they are committed to addressing the issues raised by the students. This is dependent on managing the fiscal and other constraints, which the Faculty and School face, says the statement.

One of the issues raised by students was that the accreditation of the school has been withdrawn. The university says the unconditional accreditation of the school has been changed to a provisional, but the university will be working to ensure full accreditation is granted. The reason the university gives for this withdrawal is because of an over-enrollment of first students, with the number of students being admitted to be capped going forward.

Another part of the students’ memorandum raised the issue of high fees, and the mental health strains the course caused for them. The university said they cannot give a full breakdown of the fees, but will give more mental health support to students.

All the students are not really impressed with the response as it does not really address the concerns – only four of the issues from the memorandum were addressed – and it is really only explanations. “We don’t want explanations, we want solutions,” a student told The Daily Vox.

The Dental Student Council (DSC) has told students to send in their input on the reply from the university. The faculty has promised to continue engaging with the DSC and have encouraged them to raise any issues with the Dean and Assistant Dean of the school.

Speaking to The Daily Vox, a member of the DSC said the council is a voice for the student and they have to execute what the students wants. The council has met with the senior executive regarding the memorandum of demands. The DSC member said: “The Faculty’s response was very broad but the senior executive from the school seems more committed, even asking for a meeting with all students. As for the plan of action going forward, that will only be decided after the meeting with senior executive.

Featured image provided.

Author’s note: This story has been updated with comments from a DSC member.