WSU Vice-Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley has flagged the endemic challenge of student debts as one the most critical challenges confronting the University’s efforts in providing adequate services to students.


Addressing a fervent crowd at Butterworth campus graduation ceremony on Monday 7 May, Midgley said there exists a direct correlation between unpaid fees and the University’s ability to deliver satisfactory services across the University.


“For the sake of WSU’s future, we need financial stability and we need past and present students to pay their debts so that we can embark on further major renovations on existing residences and lecture halls,” he said.


The University’s systematic challenge of inadequate infrastructure also didn’t escape the attentions of the Vice Chancellor.


In an alarming and sobering account of the infrastructural challenges facing the institution, Midgley shared with the audience the staggering R850 million infrastructure backlog the University is currently grappling with.


“The unpleasant accommodation conditions at our University were not created overnight, and there is no quick-fix solution. All stakeholders have to pull together. Having said this, I must acknowledge the ongoing support from the Department of Higher Education and Training, which assists us greatly with infrastructure grants,” he asserted.


Midgley quickly shone light on the grim realities the institution is faced with, highlighting that the University would this year receive funding from the higher education and training department to enable WSU to start construction on two residences, in Mthatha, as well as either Queenstown or Butterworth.


He said another grant will be secured to enable the University to do major renovations at the Mthatha campus, which faces bleak conditions with regards to accommodation.


“We know that this will not solve our accommodation problems, but it is an important start,” Midgley hastened to add.


During the May graduation season, the Chancellor will award qualifications to 5,983 graduates across our four campuses.


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