Most institutions of higher learning had their fair share of struggles as the academic year started. The South African Union for Students (SAUS) released a statement that found fault in the Higher Education Department, however, the department has come forward to put things into perspective.
Students were in protests in the past weeks, complaining about challenging registrations, financial blocks, and vaccination mandates.
Things are calmer in some institutions, as student representatives and university management have reached an agreement.
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) said most of the issues that were being raised by student bodies were that of institutions, and student bodies ought to engage with the relevant institutions.
In a Newzroom Africa live interview, DHET Deputy Minister Buti Manamela said:
We have worked with institutions and students to resolve the student debt, which was a result of administrative issues between the NSFAS and the universities.
Manamela further explained that the administration issues were either caused by the students not providing sufficient information or due to universities failing to provide NSFAS with adequate proof.
According to Manamela, the biggest contributors to student debt are those students who are paying for their own fees.
Public universities have been badly affected by student debt, as it impacts how operational and sustainable these institutions are.
When the government introduced fee-free higher education, certain postgraduate studies were defunded by the Department of Higher Education.
However, the department has worked with other agencies to ensure that this group of students are funded for their tertiary education.
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