Higher education crisis unprecedented, says Maimane

African News Agency (ANA)

Higher education crisis unprecedented, says Maimane
Students leave the University of Limpopo Turfloop campus after the announcement that the institution had been closed indifinately. Picture.Chester Makana/ANA

South Africa is facing an unprecedented crisis in higher education which if left unaddressed will fracture the future of all students as well as the prospects of South Africa as a whole, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.

“This crisis therefore requires leadership from all sectors of society. It is not a just a higher education crisis but a national one,” he told journalists in Cape Town after the DA’s federal executive (FedEx) two-day meeting.

The DA’s position had always been fair and progressive. A student should not be excluded from building their future because their economic circumstances made a higher education qualification unaffordable. In this regard, government could and had to do more.

“The right of those students who wish to continue learning and complete their academic year must be protected. Violence and the destruction of property must be condemned in the strongest terms and must be prosecuted. However, as much as we call on protesters to act within the law, we call upon the SAPS [SA Police Service] and private security to act with restraint and the within the confines of the law as well.”

Shutting down higher education campuses affected the poor the most. If this academic year was lost, it would impose significant additional burdens on those students who were already struggling to cover their living expenses.

Maimane said he intended to meet Dr Ahmed Bawa, CEO of Universities South Africa (formerly Higher Education South Africa) and Professor Adam Habib, chairman of Universities South Africa, to address, among other things, the funding crisis that had shut down the country’s universities, as well as the conduct of some protesters and the urgent need to complete this academic year.

An invitation to this meeting had also been extended to the leaders of the other opposition parties, with leaders from the Economic Freedom Fighters, United Democratic Movement, Inkatha Freedom Party, African Christian Democratic Parrty, Freedom Front Plus, and Agang confirming their attendance, he said.

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SOURCEAfrican News Agency (ANA)