NZIMANDE URGES STUDENTS TO BE PATIENT WITH DEPARTMENT OVER FUNDING
By: Lucky Khanyile
Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande has assured Students Representative Councils across universities that the department is working against the clock
to deal with financial issues faced by students.
Dr Nzimande addressed the issues that were brought to his attention by various students’ representatives across the country during the Higher Education Summit at the International
Conversion Centre (ICC) on Thursday.
Nzimande said that a plan of action is underway and they are, “equally concerned with the historical debt as the department”.
“The reality at the moment is that there aren’t enough resources.
But, we are looking at all the possibilities of where can we get extra resources so that not a single academically capable student must be denied access to higher education because he/she comes from a poor family.
If government was to give me money now, to implement free higher education for the poor, we are ready and we know what it means,” said Nzimande.
Nonetheless, the issue of funding and historical debt are amongst the agenda of the Presidential Task Team formed by the president and asked to report by the end of November.
Higher education fees have been increasing dramatically over the years.
Students have been fighting this, with the recent and ongoing strike at the Witwatersrand University.
“If you (are) earning R180 thousands, its way above the NSFAS threshold but still you can’t afford tertiary education because it’s expensive hence we have agreed with vice-chancellors
to look into this issue of fee increments.
We won’t be putting the burden of higher education to students. This is why we have been increasing NSFAS resources in the manner that we have been doing,” said Nzimande.
Amongst other demands by SRC’s after their caucus, were: transformation, victimisation and criminalisation, decolonisation of the curriculum, sexual violence, racism and language.