#WitsFeesAreRidiculous 

2015-10-19 07:35

The University of the Witwatersrand has one of the highest statistics when it comes to leaving its graduates with debt. When I say debt I don’t mean a simple cleared after your first pay check debt I mean debt that will take you at least 3-4 years to pay off if you manage to get a corporate job. Again this is another error in the system which forces our youth to enter into the corporate space and be forced into being job finders instead of having the financial freedoms of becoming job creators. I see it everyday and it makes me feel sick inside, when you see a young person with all the potential to be great but because of their financial situation has to do something they are not passionate about just to pay off the debt for education. Entrepreneurship is choked out by the education system and financial system that accompanies it. This is why what the Wits leadership did over the last few days was remarkable, being led by the Wits SRC they managed to suspend the fee increase indefinitely. 

It takes a lot of courage and confidence to stand up against management especially at a university where the establishment is built to run as a full blown business. The bottom line is everything. It saddens me to think that a so called academic institution would have such a sense of apathy towards this financial issue that affects students directly. I know that the current student leadership at Wits University have received a lot of praise over the last few days but I would like to commend the faceless students, the ones who don’t have titles at campus or who are not members of any executive but stood up to this increase and fought back.  You are the real heroes here, none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for you. Thank you. 

Look personally I didn’t agree with one aspect of the protest even though I fully endorse the cause. Some decision making by the organisers of the protest wasn’t correctly considered and I am afraid we still might feel the after effects of it in the next few weeks to come. You see by stopping students from coming in and out of the university and by causing the cancellation of classes for over 4 days (including Monday) they have put the very students they are fighting for under risk of academic exclusion with examinations coming up in a the next few weeks.These last few weeks are vitally important for students that are sitting on the fence when it comes to their percentages and prospects of passing the year. Many previously academically excluded students need to pass every subject to ensure that they don’t get academically excluded again. Cancelling of classes just before final examinations are not doing any favours for our students. 

I understand the pressure put on management and level of attention that comes from completely blocking off every enterance and exit but why not just stop management from entering and leaving the university? Why stop students from entering and leaving a university where their main aim is to just study and graduate? That was wrong.

Nevertheless away from that one aspect, the protest was great. It was non-violent and even when security forces and other individuals tried to disrupt the protest the students remained non-violent. I hope that the fee gets suspended and we move closer to free education for all. I have identified a solution where students will only pay 50% of their proposed fees which will allow students the opportunity to graduate and not be burdened by high debt after graduation. WITS FEES WILL FALL. FREE EDUCATION IN OUR LIFETIME. 

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