Universities Feel The Pinch After Student Protests

Two institutions of higher learning in KwaZulu-Natal have appeared before the parliamentary committee. In their presentations, they revealed how much student debt has inclined over the years and other issues that are detrimental to these institutions being fully functional and operational.

Recently, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and Durban University of Technology (DUT) appeared before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science, and Innovation.

This comes after student protests in these two KZN institutions of higher learning.

UKZN’s Professor Nana Poku shared the following in one of the presentations:

We have had a few of the university buildings being burnt and being destroyed through throwing of rocks.

Poku further shared that university vehicles and staff vehicles being touched are a safety and security concern for both staff and students.

According to the management of both institutions, these protests are costing them millions.

The university’s deployment of the Strike Force came at a cost of almost R1 million, shared DUT executive member.

It has been reported that the ultimate demand that students have is free tertiary education.

“We advocated for decolonisation and free education in the past years, and then the ANC government promised to give us free education,” said one of the students.

A member of the EFF student organisation added that the call for free education is long overdue, students are facing a lot due to these promises and this is the time for implementation.

Dr. Linda Meyer of Universities SA explained that political instability, NSFAS delays, and the shortage of student accommodation are what influences student protests at institutions of learning.

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