Students concerned as ‘fees must fall’ continues

2016-10-11 06:00

WHAT started as a campaign to lower higher education fees around the country has taken a drastic and violent turn for the worst.
The #FeesMustFall campaign has seen students violently protesting and damaging university property. Students are slowly forming a division as some remain spellbound by the campaign, while others are concerned for their safety as well as their education as campuses are forced to close.

Many matriculants are also concerned as the destruction of university property will negatively impact on their studies next year. The campaign started as students felt the exorbitant fees were preventing them from completing their degrees, thus slowing down the process for them to earn a living.

Upper Highway students say the protests must stop and violence is not the way to get results and say the protests are causing more harm than good. Some also felt the protests have now taken a racial and political turn, which is adding to the chaos.
Ashira Lukhan, a master’s industrial psychology student, said the protesting students who are putting them at a disadvantage as their entire academic year has been put on hold because of the protests.

Lukhan says assignments are due and tests have to be written, but campuses have been forced to close.

“These delays are hindering our studies. When will all of this end?” Lukhan asked.

“On one side students are fighting for their rights and the very tools to help them combat poverty. On the other, it is disrupting other students. They are important matters that must be addressed, but at what expense?

“The government needs to take notice of these issues and address the concerns with tangible action,” she added.

Minister of Education Blade Nzimande was interviewed on Gagasi FM on Wednesday 5 October during the 6pm slot hosted by radio presenter Alex Mthiyane.

He said: "The government believes that the #FeesMustFall campaign is more than just a protest. It has got out of hand and looks like there are other people behind the campaign, who want to destroy the ruling party. The government cannot pay for each and every student.

“Some students went to private schools where school fees were over R50 000. I am surprised that the parents were able to afford school fees then, but now they demand free tertiary education.

“We also believe that the people who started the campaign are those who were not paying attention to their studies during the year and now have realised they will fail their courses.

“Some students are there to study and are serious about their education, however, they are now caught up in this wrong-doing.

“Pupils in matric are afraid and concerned about this because if it goes on for too long it means they won't be able to further their education any time soon." He urged the students to commence with classes and think about how this will affect their future.

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