Students ‘progress’ with Blade

2017-02-22 06:01

HIGHER Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has warned of the complete demise of public higher education system should student protests persist.

Nzimande said if the situation gets to that, it will be the poor students who will suffer the most.

He was speaking after visiting the uMgungundlovu Tvet College’s Midlands Campus as part of his oversight mandate on higher education institutions.

He said rich parents had already started sending their children to overseas institutions and local private tertiary institutions.

“When our public system is destroyed, private universities are going to come in. Poor students are not going to afford these.

“They will only afford fly by night [institutions] which will be of bad quality, which is what has happened in many African countries.”

Nzimande said the private university system will be problematic and would not be accessible to the poor.

He said there would also be more fly-by-night institutions providing poor education.

Nzimande said the department was engaging vice-chancellors, students, workers and communities around the issue of the necessity to protect the country’s institutions.

“We have also asked universities to put security measures in place to protect property and life.”

He said he had seen close to R1 billion in damage to university property, money that could have been used to fund poor students but would be used to repair damage done by students. Nzimande said he had got the chance to meet with management, council and student leaders at the Midlands Campus where issues affecting the college were raised.

“One of the things for instance, is that of the results that should come out on time and certificates. You cannot pass and then not get the certificate.”

He said government was attending the matter and would make sure the results are released on time.

SRC president Noluthando Hlubi described the meeting as “progressive”.

“It helped. We raised issues with the minister.”

She said they were promised some of the pending results would be released by Friday and said some results had already started coming out.

“We got commitment that all those certificates dating from 2012 to 2016 will be issued by March this year.”

Hlubi said the students continued to face challenges with NSFAS payments. “They do payments late. At this college, we only received NSFAS payments in January. It was supposed to cover our transport and accommodation fees last year,” she said.

When our public system is destroyed, private universities are going to come in. Poor students are not going to afford these.

“They will only afford fly by night [institutions]


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