Law Students Represent UKZN in a Virtual Model Legislature Session
Ms Siwaphiwe Mathenjwa, Mr Nkululeko Shabalala and Ms Sithembiso Khumalo participated in the inaugural Virtual Model Legislature Session hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs.
The series, which covered all the country’s provinces, is part of an initiative to encourage the youth to reflect on the impact of COVID-19 in their province and South Africa, and how they can work to support the mandates of the provincial legislature/parliament.
It offers an opportunity for young people to engage in debate and negotiations whilst representing the views of young people in their communities and working together to develop a youth response for life beyond COVID-19. Participants present their conclusions for submission to the provincial legislature.
Mathenjwa, who is the team captain, said that based on first-hand experience, they decided to focus on the impacts of COVID-19 on the education sector.
‘The team and I examined the educational obstacles faced by students with disabilities. There is frustration and fear that these students will miss out on critical learning skills as their parents are not well trained to home school them and do not have the necessary equipment that the school might have had in aiding their development,’ she explained.
To prepare for the debate, the team researched and engaged the following issues:
• How they envision KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa beyond COVID-19
• The negative and positive impacts of COVID-19 on the province’s communities and the environment
• What should be prioritised in crafting a sustainable future for all while trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19?
• How should the provincial legislature/provincial parliament tackle the climate crisis during and post the COVID-19 pandemic?
• What stakeholders (youth, community leaders, non-governmental organisations, business, health workers, educators) will ensure successful implementation of legislation?
‘Part of the issue with regard to the education sector is that the last quarter which we were denied by corona is usually spent on assessment. We hence appeal to the government not to rush into promoting students to the next grade because that will increase quantity over quality. We submit that after the pandemic the province should look into changing the education offered in Higher Education Institutions because the demand disciplines are going to decline. For example, we should look at promoting more programmes around health,’ said Mathenjwa.
Words: Thandiwe Jumo