Universities have nothing to fear if Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announces no fee increases for next year, Sasco said on Thursday.
“They don’t have to be scared. Students say they don’t want to pay for education. Give them free education and everything will be okay,” SA Students’ Congress leader Thabo Moloja told reporters in Johannesburg.
Some universities had taken precautionary measures ahead of Nzimande’s expected announcement on Friday, due to fears of how students would react. The bill for damage to property at universities across the country, following student protests against fee increases in October last year, was estimated at R460m.
Government had to reprioritise its budget and get private sector help to fund free education, he said.
“This rumoured 6% he will be offering us, we rejected it last year,. Why do they think we will accept it this year?”
Last year, students rejected Nzimande’s 6% fee increase for 2016. President Jacob Zuma subsequently announced no fee increases for the current academic year and established a commission to look at the feasibility of free tertiary education. It began public hearings on Wednesday.
The 0% increase however left universities with a funding shortfall of about R3 billion.[Source: News24]