Broader engagement with students needed

2016-10-12 06:00

ON Tuesday, I participated in a multi­faith meeting for peace at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg.

Although I do not condone violence and the destruction of property, students have a genuine grievance with regards to the high cost of tertiary education because most genuinely cannot afford the fees.

A university degree is very costly and less privileged students, especially black students, who come from historically disadvantaged households, cannot fund the cost of tuition, text books and stationery, lodging and food. Many also come from deep rural areas with not much support from their families due to various reasons such as unemployment, poverty and illiteracy.

Some may not even have parents or come from single-parent homes.

Certainly, the issue of funding cannot be resolved instantly and independently by the institutions themselves.

Therefore, it requires the intervention of communities, government and business houses.

There must be an effective dialogue between the different stakeholders to address the issue amicably.

After attending the peace prayer meeting, I believe it is possible to find an agreeable way forwards without disruption and violence.

I support and understand the struggle and the legitimate grievances the students have, but may I request students not to burn down the facilities that are needed to educate our people.

MOHAMED SAEED

Pietermaritzburg

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