Pupils first

2016-10-12 06:00

AS a parent of a university student and a member of the ANC, who was active in the seventies and eighties, I believe there is a misconception around the students’ demand for free education.

The Freedom Charter, which is the cornerstone of our Constitution, clearly indicated free education for school-going children and assistance from the state for tertiary students. So that puts to bed the misinformation about the ANC promising free education.

I believe the government is failing us by allowing the students to continue rioting when a decision has been taken which accommodates all in the spirit of the Freedom Charter. Those who cannot afford it and whose parents’ income falls within a certain income quintile, will be assisted; those above that must pay. That’s normal in any society that assists its citizens. So what is the purpose of the ongoing toyi-toyiing?

Government, please protect our universities and students against ongoing hooliganism and wanton destruction.

My take is that those toyi-toyiing are the students who are not ready for exams. That brings me to the rights of other students. Some students have clearly voiced their requests to be allowed to continue classes. What are we doing to protect those students’ rights? What intelligence is being collected about the toyi-toyiing students to check whether they are the poorest ones? Or are they the ones who have been shirking? Are they part of the student body or part of the support structure and hangers on who live off the universities?

On free education I believe government should be working towards free education in schools, and only when this has been achieved can we discuss free tertiary education. We still have schools under trees and in pre-fab asbestos classrooms and temporary buildings, so how can we disregard these pupils and provide free education to the select few.

Wake up parents, make your voices heard, support the universities, stop relying on politicians to solve the country’s problems.

FRANCIS GRANTHAM

Woodlands

Wake up parents, stop relying on politicians to solve the country’s problems

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