Make education for the poor and indigent free

THUS far we have heard that the singular most important reason for the unrest, boycotts and violence was the proposed university fee increases next year.

Many blamed the students for hooliganism, calling them dimwits, thugs, academic failures too scared to sit for the exams, and students enrolled for tertiary study after merely scoring a 30% pass.

This is Blade Nzimande’s biggest failure as Minister of Higher Education. Unthinkable. It stood for the downgrading of standards and devaluing merit and success in tertiary learning.

Nzimande’s action, unbeknown and not understood by the vast majority of parents, must be regarded as the worst insult afflicted upon the character, personality, dignity and humanity of black students. Don’t make them cheap.

When we show a degree of honest concern and decide to look around we will find that in this country we have tens of thousands of highly capable and academically qualified black professors, politicians, teachers, health workers, engineers - the list goes on.

In short, I am saying or challenging that upward and forward growth is not fully appreciated, but this growth is advancing at a ferocious pace.

We are living in a democratic South Africa, why are we so tardy to accept this growth of human capacity and unavoidable capability?

We know that before the dawn of democracy we allowed ourselves to being regarded as inferior. And the big shots were happy to sweep the truth under the carpet. There was no such a thing as black, sorry, non-white intelligentsia. So fellow South Africans wake up and smell the roses.

Sweep the cobwebs from your brain, and the ignorance therefrom and try to see that:

• thousands of black, Indian, coloured and white students can afford the fees;

• thousands of black students cannot afford the fees;

• thousands of black, Indian, coloured and white students just scrape through and pay their fees;

• thousands of students from all groups can just afford a square meal or breakfast before going to college or university the next day; and

• thousands of black university students and school children and a sizable number of coloured and Indian children are hungry and go to school on an empty stomach the next day.

So the government and all members of Parliament, please wake up to the truth and fully support all poor and indigent pupils from all groups.Make education free for all the poor and indigent now, and for all later when the educated help to strengthen the financial health of the country.

Please forgive me for this long letter, but the truth must be told as I trust I have done.

R. MUNISAMY

Via email

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