Free education a unifying factor – Wits SRC

2016-09-19 22:44
Wits University was brought a standstill this week after the announcement of an increase in tuition fees for the 2016 study year. Students at the university were protesting against the fee hikes and boycotted classes. Picture: ELIZABETH SEJAKE

Wits University was brought a standstill this week after the announcement of an increase in tuition fees for the 2016 study year. Students at the university were protesting against the fee hikes and boycotted classes. Picture: ELIZABETH SEJAKE

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Johannesburg – Although students are divided along political lines, they are united in their call for free education, a Wits University SRC official said on Monday.

“No matter the political background and opinions, the one thing that we all agree on is free education, and that is the unifying banner,” Student Representative Council secretary general Fasiha Hassan said.

She was addressing journalists who had been kicked out of meeting students held at Senate House, which they had renamed Solomon Mahlangu House during protests against fee increases last year.

She said they tried to emphasise unity in the student movement, and the need to make efforts to bridge the gap between historically black and historically white institutions.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced earlier on Monday that universities could increase fees by no more than 8% for the next academic year. Government would help households with an annual income of up to R600 000 with subsidies.

Hassan said they agreed it was time to focus attention on the private sector and its role in paying for university education. Some students had suggested marching to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Chamber of Mines.

“Now we need to target the private sector. It has not played a big enough role, nor contributed to or developed higher education enough,” Hassan said.

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