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#FeesMustFall: Nzimande to meet with SRC leaders

The minister will meet with SRC leaders from a number of institutions to discuss issues in the sector.

Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande. Picture: GCIS.
Fees must fall,Blade Nzimande,feesmustfall,Fees shortfall,Department of Higher Education and Training,Minister of Higher Education
Local

JOHANNESBURG – Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande is expected to meet SRC leaders from a number of institutions this week, to discuss issues affecting the sector. 

Yesterday, Nzimande announced government’s plans to provide financial support to students this academic year and assist in alleviating the debt of others. 

His announcement coincided with the beginning of the 2016 installment of the ‘Fees Must Fall’ campaign.

Nzimande says colleges’ apprenticeships and other skills programmes are all viable options. 

He says while there are still challenges with technical and vocational colleges, top performing programmes and institutions still exist. 

“There are apprentices, many of whom become artisans and better employed, who are fixing aeroplanes at OR Tambo International Airport." 

With funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) also made available for college studies, the department is urging prospective students to find their place in the higher education sector.

WATCH: #FeesMustFall reloaded

PROTESTS

The department says students involved in the #FeesMustFall protests need to understand that free education is not feasible, at least for now.

Yesterday, three tertiary institutions suspended onsite registration after disruptions at enrollment centres.

The department says all issues raised last year have been addressed, with over 400,000 students expected to receive NSFAS funding from government this academic year.

It says students need to allow campus activity to resume smoothly without seeking to make political statements through protest action.

Deputy Director General Diane Parker says, “I think the students that are protesting now are wanting to protest regardless of what government brings to the table. They’re indicating that they're protesting for free higher education now for all. This is not really a possibility now, within our context.”

The minister has called on students to allow registration to continue while officials try to resolve a protest over funding, but Wits University student leaders say they cannot guarantee this will happen unless their demands are met.

Prince Kome was among the first year's waiting to register yesterday. He says he supports the protest, but not the disruptions.

Wits SRC member Fasiha Hassan says they have not yet decided if they will stop protests if registration fees are scrapped.

Students will continue registering online today and Wits says the university will resume on campus registration on Wednesday.

IN BRIEF

In October last year, students from universities all over the country embarked on mass protests calling for an end to tertiary institution fee increases. 

The #FeesMustFall campaign then marched on the Union buildings where President Jacob Zuma announced all fee increases for 2016 would be scrapped. 

Government is now working on a way forward in terms of scrapping university fees altogether. 

Click here to watch EWN’s the year of the student feature.

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)

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