South African University Continues Suspension Of Lectures Amidst Fees ProtestBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Rhodes University in South Africa has continued the suspension of lectures. This comes in the middle of protests by students against the tuition fee increases.
Eyewitness News reported that the suspension for academic activities in Rhodes University has extended for a fourth day because of the ongoing fees protests inside its campus. The school's management has met with some students, the Student Representative Council (SRC), and staff to discuss several issues.
In the meeting, the university has decided to look at how feasible free education and free supplementary exams would be. The process of including students for budget-making has also been discussed.
SRC president Gift Sandi has confirmed that a follow-up meeting has been scheduled to discuss remaining demands. "Wits has been more comprehensive in responding to it, so we want a clear response on how things are going to happen, for instance, the pressure that will be applied on government to increase subsidies," Sandi said.
Rhodes University is in support of free education for the poor. The school is said to be lobbying the government to increase higher education funding.
The protests at several tertiary institutions after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that tuition fee hike decisions will be left to the schools. Rhodes University management warned that a collapse of the higher education system is imminent if the current fees issue is not addressed well.
According to IOL, Rhodes University has threatened to shut down for this academic year if students continue their protests. In a letter by the office of the school's Vice-Chancellor, the institution urges students to "think hard" about their actions.
"Continued instability will destroy our higher education system," the letter stated. "If normal activities cannot continue next week, the University will be left with no option but to close and send all students home... The closure of the University will have dire consequences for the town, for all University staff, and for students themselves who will not be able to complete the academic year."