The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education has noted and applauds the swift intervention by the Higher Education and Training Department to try end ongoing protests by students at several institutions of higher learning across the country.
“As the Committee, we welcome all efforts and eagerness displayed by the department in availing the needed resources to arrest the financial crisis situation before it gets out of hand. Education remains one of the key government priorities. However, this contribution is not to placate protesters but an expression of our determination of progressive realisation of free quality higher education for the working class and the poor,” said Committee Chairperson Advocate Ishmael Malale.
Adv. Malale urged the institutions to commit to improved throughput rates and for students to show a culture of learning, research and academic excellence. He slammed financial exclusions which he said were used as a tool of debt recovery or a bait to fish for more resources from the state by some institutions intent on subverting the strategic objective of building a competitive inclusive economy for the country’s enterprising youth.
The Committee is also hopeful that the recent financial injection of R1 billion to the NSFAS budget will finally bring stability to the learning and teaching activities across the country’s Universities and Further Education and Training Colleges.
Meanwhile, the Committee will this week conduct oversight visits to various Universities and FET Colleges in the Eastern Cape. Committee members will meet with various stakeholders including the management, labour unions and students’ representatives. The meetings will discuss various issues such as financial assistance, registration, transformation and infrastructure.