Worries have grown concerning the fate of black South Africans who would not be able to reach their dreams in education due to high fees. The recent figures released by Stats SA indicate that South African households, mostly the blacks, will have to make more room in their budgets to pay for rising tuition fees.
In its mid-year population estimates released on Thursday, Stats SA called on the government to address education shortfalls to improve the lives of black South Africans.
It said cost of education in the country has increased in a very alarming rate reaching 9.3% in March 2015 compared with what was recorded in 2014.
“This is 5,3% percentage points higher than the headline CPI of 4,0%. It shows how education inflation has constantly outstripped general inflation.”
Breaking it down by province, Stats SA revealed that the rising cost of education affects people in KwaZulu-Natal municipality most by 45% while those in Western Cape are the least affected by 21%.
It said although Northern Cape exhibited a 59% increase in education costs between 2010 and 2015, only 22% of those aged 5–24 indicated a lack of money as a barrier to education.
Stats SA points out factors causing the increased cost of education in the country. Three of the causes are –
- Higher education institutions raise their fees on the back of rising maintenance costs,
- More expensive municipal services and higher enrollment rates.
- The rand-dollar exchange rates have also increased the cost of imported books and materials.
After 22 years of democracy, it seems efforts to improve the education of a black child aren’t bearing the desired results.
The Agency said the country can no longer afford to delay redressing the education divide, lest the country’s largest population ends up being uneducated, unskilled and destitute.
Speaking on this, education minister Blade Nzimande said he is at his best in finding lasting solutions for SA University’s financial crisis.
The minister, who was answering series of questions thrown to him by the MPs on university fee increases on Wednesday, said he was in consultation with various stakeholders, as well as the minister of finance on way to provide the needed fund for SA universities in order to keep to the 0% increase for the 2017 academic year.
Nzimande, however, promised the National Assembly during a question session to the social services cluster that he would make necessary announcements in due time.
Meanwhile, outgoing University of the Free State vice chancellor‚ Professor Jonathan Jansen‚ said that there is no hope for South Africa’s universities.
The professor blamed President Jacob Zuma to his leading role in destroying the future of south Africans by destroying the SA institutions.
He said Zuma’s insistence on a 0% increase for the 2017 academic year in order “to get the kids out of the union buildings” despite Minister Blade Nzimande’s position of a 6% fee increase‚ would bring the SA Universities to its knees.
Jansen said the political situation of the country has caught up with universities, such that it is now impossible to ask for anything in terms of a fee increase.