Nzimande to meet student leaders

2016-01-13 18:23
Blade Nzimande

Blade Nzimande

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Cape Town - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande was expected to meet student leaders on Thursday as the #freeregistration and #feesmustfall protests continued at some universities.

He wanted to listen to student leaders, find out the reasons for their unhappiness and discuss solutions, his spokesperson, Khaye Nkwanyana, said on Wednesday.

Nzimande would present his department’s post-school education and training opportunities and other plans for 2016 at the meeting in Johannesburg.

On Monday, Nzimande urged students to talk to the department about any issues after they "legitimately" complained last year that the government was not implementing its own policies.

He unveiled a R10bn support package to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. Another R6bn would be spent on students who had been underfunded in the past two to three years. This amount would also be used to cover the R2.3bn revenue shortfall universities faced because fee increases were frozen late last year.

Too poor to pay

When President Jacob Zuma made the announcement, students pointed out that they should not be paying fees at all because most of them were too poor.

They should also not have to pay registration fees because many of them struggled to raise the money, they claimed.

Following the decision not to increase fees, the vice chancellors of 26 universities said students still needed to pay their fees, otherwise they would not have money for things such as new learning materials.

Meanwhile, distance learning institution Unisa was still closed on Wednesday after it said protesting workers and students had ransacked its stores of study materials. It said the workers were outsourced and employed by another company.

After last year's protests to demand an end to outsourcing, the university committed to hire them directly. But legal matters regarding contract cancellations with the recruitment companies still had to be resolved.

Unisa Vice Chancellor Mandla Makhanya urged protesters to stop because he believed their issues had been addressed, and asked that security, catering and cleaning staff go back to work.

They would not tolerate violence and damage to property and would lock protesters out, he said.

Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  education

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