South Africa’s biggest universities have been affected by student protests over the increase of education fees.
Written By: Mohammed GaniDo you know what Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has been up to this year? Is there anyone out there who does? Well, we do know what he hasn’t been doing. Yes that would be correct, he hasn’t been addressing the major issues that plague the education system in this country.In hindsight of this protests over the fees of tertiary education are spreading through the country like wildfire.It seems to have all started at Wits, when Financial Officer, Linda Jarvis, claimed the price increase on education was due to the cost of library books, journals, research equipment and salary increases for academic staff. Linda Jarvis said “The net effect is that we have to make up our income to cover our expenditure in order to remain sustainable. If we do not do so, we put the quality of our academic project at risk.” Negotiations between Wits Management and the SRC (Student Representative Council) seemed to be fruitless. Classes at Wits remained suspended on Monday.Rhodes went viral this weekend with a call for a total shutdown. This all started on Sunday after a message on Facebook started circulating for a call to action against the increase in fees. Rhodes SRC president Zikisa Maqubela told eNCA: “Students are protesting about the minimum initial payment, which means students are required to pay 50% of the fees. This means if students live in res, they will be required to pay up to R45 000.” Since these talks classes have also been suspended until further notice.At the same time UCT was hit by protesters. The middle and upper campuses have been barricaded with rocks, benches and dustbins preventing anyone from entering the university. Thus leading to the suspension of all classes. “All staff and students are asked to refrain from coming to UPPER CAMPUS, MIDDLE AND LOWER CAMPUS for today. Staff and student currently on UPPER CAMPUS, MIDDLE AND LOWER CAMPUS are asked to leave the campus,” UCT Stated on its website.Is this just the beginning? Where is our education system headed?There have been reports of students, some armed with sticks, turning people away from the campus. Some students were also reportedly barricading entrances with burning tyres. With all this protesting going on… Makes you wonder what else you are paying for that should be cheaper. Protest against your car insurance hikes and get a competitive quote!