Higher Education Is In Crisis, Says Student Union

Student Union, the South African Union of Students (SAUS) believes that higher education is in crisis and that the delay of NSFAS laptop deliveries and data, Unisa's latest action and limited access is the cause of it.

Student Union, the South African Union of Students (SAUS) believes that higher education is in crisis and that the delay of NSFAS laptop deliveries and data, Unisa's latest action and limited access is the cause of it.

SAUS issued a statement where they responded to Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande's, address he gave last week. 

The union is concerned about the remaining 17 Universities who are still in the process of completing the 2020 academic year saying that these institutions have varying challenging circumstances which characterize the experiences of mainly historically black disadvantaged institutions and students coming from poor and working-class backgrounds.

According to SAUS, these Universities transitioned to online learning at a slow pace, even Tshwane University of Technology which they say is one of South Africa's leading institutions in science and technology. 

To make matters worse, the department was not able to deliver laptops to NSFAS students by June of last year leaving many vulnerable students and various universities "still trying to ‘play catch up’ to the pace of online learning and desire to be amongst those which have finished".

The idea of a two-tier education system was also introduced in 2020 when the pandemic showcased the inequalities which exists in higher education when one looks at resources available. On one side, Universities were able to reach students and go online whereas other students were stuck in houses smaller than a classroom having to house big families with no devices and bad connectivity.

... in this way, Minister Blade and DHET continue to endorse a two-tier university system which disadvantages historically black institutions and students mostly, with nothing but the Ministers Press briefings to account for.

SAUS is also concerned when it comes to Unisa enrolling 20 000 less students this year and have said that the department has miscalculated and that these are "bullying tactics by the department".

UNISA National Student Representative Council (SRC) has also expressed concern when it comes to this matter and have said that they were not engaged.

as a Union of students we believe the intention to exclude these 20 000 students is ill-considered

 

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