More than 120 Students Graduate from Workers College
A total of 123 students received degrees and certificates during the annual Graduation ceremony of the Worker’s College held at the Coastlands Hotel recently.
The College, through its partnership with UKZN’s School of Social Sciences since 1999, has developed an Industrial Work-Life Programme (IWLP) which is a five-year Bachelor of Social Science Degree course (BSC).
The College was created to address past injustices caused by the apartheid system and provide access to worker leaders, trade union representatives and shop stewards and formalise their education.
The ceremony was opened by the chairperson of the Workers College Mr Phumulani Duma and the Director and Principal of the College, Mr Siyabonga Msiya, who is a product of IWLP.
The live graduation was coupled with the 30th anniversary celebration of the Workers College and graduates were capped with all COVID-19 protocols being observed.
In the keynote address the Dean and Head of the School of Social Sciences, Professor Vivian Ojong, said: ‘Workers’ education is not just about advancing the interests of workers as a group as its function is also to make sure that all those who are not owners of production and are part of the marginalised (precarious or vulnerable) sections of the workforce and society are empowered to improve their social and economic positions.’
Ojong said workers’ education was dynamic and driven by a desire to establish an egalitarian society. ‘As such, the future of workers’ education in South Africa requires the decolonsation of the curriculum, disrupting Eurocentric consciousness and challenging notions of meritocracy within education and society which have privileged the minority,’ she said.
Ojong added that the impressive graduation rate was testimony to the work put in by graduates despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The graduates were from four union federations - COSATU, FEDUSA, SAFTU, and NACTU (SACWU); 24 trade unions - CEPPWAWU, CHIETA, FAWU, HIAWU, HOSPERSA, NAGEWU, NASUWU, NEHAWU, NUCCAAW, NULAW, NUM, NUMSA, NUPSAW, PATU, PAWUSA, POPCRU, PSA, PTAWU, SACCAWU, SACTWU, SACU, SACWU, SAMWU, SATAWU; one community organisation - SANCO; and the Workers College South Africa.