University students are still persistent that government and universities hearken to their perils over the hiked fees for 2017 academic years.
However, University of the Western Cape (UWC) says this might not be achievable noting that listening to students’ need will mean that varsity management must cough out additional R530 million for free education.
UWC management noted this while outlining its response to a list of 40 demands from protesting students.
According to the university management, it would cost varsity bodies at least R43,2 million per year to provide internet data to 18,000 students; R6 million annually to provide free sanitary towels for 60% of students while an additional R3 million R3 million will need to be found in the budget and to run the library and computer labs for 24 hours every day of the week.
Students have alongside free education, requested for the provision of basic amenities and other requirements for proper education which state government on its part would not be able to fund considering the country’s economic stand.
The education and training minister allowed for an 8% increase of university fees for the 2017 academic year so various universities will be able to address financial crisis.
Minister Blade Nzimande also noted that government would pay for fee increases of up to 8% at universities and TVET colleges for NSFAS students and those with a household income up to R600,000.
This is expected to cost the country an estimated R2.5-billion and UWC claim heeding to students’ additional request will cost varsities R530M – a huge sum which the management said could be used to address other issues of varsity departments.
However, UWC’s Luthando Tyhalibongo said steps have also been taken to address the housing shortage on campus and that Management has also agreed to allow students with outstanding debt to symbolically graduate at the end the year.
“The university has already acquired land in Bellville South, Belhar and Kuils River,” it said.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula raised her worries over government’s silence on students demands, saying there are ways government would solve the educational crisis if it decides to listen to the protesting students.
“I was quick to say, after they spoke to us, that we have not listened to these kids. They are making a demand, but in their documents, there are clear proposals on how to solve this thing.”
Mapisa-Nqakula who is also a member of the Task team appointed by Zuma to address the students matter said the team is set to help Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande end protests at universities.
She said she realized while speaking to students, that the country’s leaders seem not to understand and have the full picture of the student’s request.
“To be honest, I was the first to go ‘Whoa!’ There are things we didn’t know, so we need to go back to the drawing board, and see what it is that we can do to appease them.” she said as she promised that the task team will a short time come up with a lasting solution students’ plight.