While the higher education department is yet to come up with its resolution on the controversial fees hike come next academic year, the Higher Education Transformation Network (HETN) warns the department not to venture any fee hike for poor students.
The group joins many other university associations to say no to the proposed fee hike. It said if the department plans to implement the fee hike, it must be for the rich students not for the poor.
The Higher Education Transformation Network (HETN) said it was deeply concerned that the zero percent fee increment of 2016 benefited not only poor students but also the children of the rich, together with those who hold bursaries from the private sector.
Speaking on this, HETN spokesperson Hendrick Makaneta said the network was concerned that the zero percent fee increment of 2016 benefited not only poor students but also the children of the rich, together with those who hold bursaries from the private sector.
“The time has come for us to draw the line between the poor and the rich, and rich students should not get the benefits that are reserved for poor students.
“In the same way that Nsfas (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) is reserved for the poor, the fee increments must affect the rich.
“We propose no fees only for the poor, but academically deserving and the rich who can afford to pay must continue to pay,” said Hendrick Makaneta.
Addressing the plight of the missing middle students who do not qualify for the financial aid scheme or for bank loans, the network said it was still concerned about how long it’s taking to resolve their issue.
The network, therefore, called on the minister to work to find lasting solutions to this category of students as it praised Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande for his efforts in trying to find solutions to the pressing challenges faced by both students and university managers.
The acknowledged that Nzimande was finding himself in a very difficult situation.
“When students demand accommodation, they don’t march to the department of human settlements but to the office of the minister.
“When students demand free education, they don’t march to Treasury or the JSE, they march to the minister’s office – and when students demand electricity, they don’t march to Eskom, they march to the minister’s office.”
Similarly, the youth wing of the SA communist Party (YCL) said the call by some sections of society for the state to implement free higher education for all was highly “opportunistic” and “regressive.
“We must remind the ANC Youth League that the resolution of the ANC is the provision of free higher education for the poor,” Dlelanga said.
Students threatened to paralyse higher education with protests, as they did during last year’s national #FeesMustFall campaign if universities persist on their proposed fee hike.