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Wits Council calls on Zuma to urgently address higher edu crisis

The council also called on Jacob Zuma to act urgently to address the crisis in the higher education sector.

University students chanting for free, decolonised and quality education outside the Union Buildings on 20 October 2016. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Wits University Council says it does not think government is looking at the fees crisis with the seriousness it deserves and has called on the institution to treat the issue as a matter of urgency.

The council also called on President Jacob Zuma to act urgently to address the crisis in the higher education sector, warning if universities are unable to continue with the 2016 academic programme, there will be consequences.

Member of the Wits Council Cas Coovadia says they don't think there is sufficient appreciation of the fact that the fees protest is a national crisis of significant proportion.

"I don't think that we're looking at this with the seriousness it deserves. I think we're sort of trying to address at different universities, even the vice-chancellors are talking to each other. We're seeing this as a sort of short-term fees issue while it goes well beyond that."

But the council says the president must be at the forefront of exploring options for sustainable

It says while it appreciates efforts by Higher Education Minister Blade Bzimande and the President in addressing the educational crisis, it says it does not think there is sufficient appreciation of the fact that this is a national crisis of significant proportion that requires the president and his office to lead the thinking on resolutions.

Coovadia said, "The President should lead a process to find a sustainable, long-term solution to this issue, because we believe it is a matter of national issue."

He said they expect the president to establish a gathering that will explore sustainable funding options for higher education.

This will ensure that no student who qualifies academically is excluded and that the president commits the necessary resources and capacity from government to ensure the necessary work is undertaken expeditiously.

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