Fees decision ‘outsourced’ to universities

2016-09-21 05:53
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PICS: #FeesMustFall student protests ignite nationwide

Student protests have ignited across SA after Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande's announcement that fee increases would proceed in 2017. View pictures here.

Cape Town – The higher education department does not have to deal with fiery students directly since it has essentially outsourced the decision on fee increases to universities, according to youth marketing company Student Village.

“It’s like they are saying, if you want autonomy on running affairs, here are your guidelines and you decide,” CEO Ronen Aires told News24.

“I almost get the sense that they make that announcement and then run and hide. Universities are left to face with students directly.”

There had been a nationwide call for students to shut down universities following Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement on Monday that universities could hike fees up to a maximum of 8%, for those students who could afford it.

Aires referred to the latest round of demonstrations, marches, and protests as season two of the “Campus Spring”.

He said it felt different to the wave of student protests in October last year, as those caught everyone by surprise.

Students, universities and government scrambled for weeks to try and reach consensus on fee increases, outsourced workers, and other issues.

“This time there are agreements in place and it is probably time to revisit what progress has been made on those.”

This time, universities were more prepared and had increased their security.

“They are trying to restore calm to the institutions and don’t want things disrupted. Disruptions cause uncertainty, chaos and havoc.”

Aires noted that some institutions got more airtime than others.

In the past couple of weeks the University of KwaZulu-Natal had been burning, but got very little attention.

“But when Wits or UCT decides something, they have the country’s attention.”

It was unfortunate that frustrated students felt the only way to get government’s or the institution’s attention was to burn buildings.

“It doesn’t buy any friends, but it gets the attention of those in power. It is a sad consequence.”

Read more on:    student village  |  university fees

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