Universities South Africa has announced an 8% fee increase for the 2018 academic year. This decision comes after the university body announced that fees will be increased according to inflation. The increase has not been met with open arms by students of various universities across the country, and there are fears of a full blown flare up.
Stellenbosch University student, Luke Waltham said, “These institutions and the government haven’t taken into consideration the struggle of many students when it came to their decision about fee increases.”
He said the decision was made during a time while students were writing examinations and the stress regarding fee increase had affected their mental health.
“These institutions need to engage with students and find solutions earlier in the year. They need to take students and their needs more seriously.” he said.
Earlier this year protests erupted at various universities over a number of issues. It also lead to classes being suspended and universities like the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), implementing additional security measures to prevent further disruptions.
“This is very shocking and surprising because this decision is not within the best interest of students,” CPUT Student Representative Council secretary general, Mbaliyezwe Madikizela said.
She added that the SRC fully rejects the latest fee increment and that she will be holding a mass meeting with students and council members in the new year to discuss the issue.
Earlier this year president Jacob Zuma released the much-anticipated “Fees Must Fall Report”. The report indicated that free higher education for all is not possible and that other alternative funding methods would have to be explored.