I sit here on my study table both sad and happy. Why such a dichotomy of feelings, you may wonder? Sad because tertiary education is becoming more commercialised. But also, happy and honoured that I am studying at a time when the university fees are still in five figures.
Well, you pick up a campus newspaper with a sheer determination to read a juicy and inspiring stories, only to meet the soul crushing news of the fees proposal by the university management. In the foreseeable future, tertiary education will become inaccessible to the poor and the middle class. It breaks my spirit that bursary opportunities in South Africa are being cut back and the tuition fees keep sky rocketing. Only the elite, will be able to pay for tertiary education.
In South Africa, The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the scheme that seek to support people from designate group (The poor and the middle class) seem not to be increasing their financial support proportionately with the rising tuition fees. This leaves those who rely from the said scheme to have deficit on their student account. At the end of the year, those students fail to get their results or fail to register the following year.
The talent of passionate youth is going to waste. I somehow feel that the human capital of this rainbow nation is under severe pressure. As long as the university fees keep hiking, South Africa will remain a country with a shortage of skill and greater income inequality. Rising fees will discourage people especially those from rural areas to pursue higher education, a violation of basic human rights, right there!
I sometimes think that the South African university are becoming highly commercialised and highly branded. Ey look, my degree bears a Stellenbosch/UCT/WITS/TUKS logo, it is like buying Nike/Adidas branded shoe, that’s how our Universities are turning into. On that point, don’t you think that we will be better off, if this institutions just get listed on the JSE?An opportunity of of raising capital by selling shares to the public?
We have seen more recently how violent students become in protest of rising tuition costs, something that pains me.How come I got this far without questioning the role of government in this matter? Right, I understnad that the government subsidise the universities, unfortunately that’s all I know regarding this matter. Why don’t the government charge heavy tax to institutions that raises tuition fees way above the inflation rate?
Established issues attached to Fee increase.
- More students will rely on bank loans to finance their studies.
- More poor people will be discouraged from applying to universities. (Accessibility to higher education will be limited.)
- South African human capital will go extinct.
- More university resources will be damaged as a result of protesting students.
It is worthy of note to also acknowledge all businesses, foundation and NGO that support students who are under financial distress. The following organisations and people deserve special mention, Thuthuka bursary fund, REAP, The Study Trust, Ernest Oppenheimer, Gallagher Foundation, GT Ferreira and my very best NSFAS.
Education is to become inaccessible in South Africa. That’s a sad reality considering that we are 16 years post apartheid government.
Oh, well let me stop whining and think of a possible solution to this problem, which will be released on this website in the near future. keep your eyes wide open.
Oh cry me a river!