2008-02-12 00:00

ONE can feel sympathy for both sides in the current standoff between students and the administration of the Durban University of Technology (DUT). Each has validity. From the university’s point of view, student debt of R175 million, R72 million in unpaid fees from last year alone, is unacceptably high. Accordingly it is refusing to reregister students with outstanding fees and is declining to roll over student debt.

On the other hand, one understand the frustration of students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, faced with enormous student bills which would seem to place a tertiary education out of reach.

The country needs skilled people urgently. Clearly, then, the onus rests upon the government to facilitate an extensive scheme of student loans for those who have shown themselves academically worthy of support, repayable either in service or from tax once the recipient graduates and starts to work.

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