’Mantoetse Maama MASERU — The Limkwokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) management will today hold a meeting with staff representatives to decide when the troubled institution will reopen.
LUCT has been closed since November when lecturers went on strike demanding that the university starts a provident fund for staff, review their salaries and give them long term contracts.
The lecturers also wanted the university to hire more teachers to reduce their workloads, improve their working conditions and allow them to get salary advances.
When negotiations failed to break the impasse in November the management closed the university.
LUCT corporate secretary, Tefo Macheli, however told the Sunday Express that the management has now finalised negotiations with the striking lecturers but they still have to decide when the university will reopen.
The meeting was initially scheduled for last Thursday but was postponed to today (Sunday).
President of LUCT workers union, Nkaku Kabi, confirmed that they had reached “partial agreement” with the management.
“We agreed on the provident fund, salary advance and working contracts for one, two and five years, respectively,” Kabi said.
He however said the two parties failed to agree on the issue of the lecturers’ workload, which they had claimed was too much and left them no time to do research.
Kabi said they had now decided to engage an expert to help them deal with the “outstanding issue”. Management had initially announced that the university would reopen on January 9 but made a sudden U-turn four days before that date, citing failure to finalise negotiations with the striking lecturers.
Seshophe Ramakoro, the secretary general of the Student Representative Council, told the Sunday Express that some of the students that had come to Maseru a few days before January 9 are now stranded.
Ramakoro said the management had denied students entry to their residences saying the university was still officially closed.
He said he wrote the management requesting the opening of residences at Old Parliamentarians’ quarters but the university refused.
“Some of the students residing at the Old Parliamentarians quarters are foreigners who do not have a home in Lesotho at all. We wanted the students to use the facilities for their assignments until classes resume but the management rejected our request,” Ramakoro said.
“We also asked the management to open the hostels which were formerly used by members of parliament as students who are staying there are coming from the country’s districts so they have nowhere to go.”
“They said they cannot let students use facilities at the school as it is officially closed.”