NO WAY TO STUDY
THE ructions at various universities and colleges are a daily feature of student life, and they are unlikely to abate anytime soon. Students can be relied on to demonstrate and make a noise. It is from them, and other young members of society, that the energy comes to challenge norms and demand a better society.
But these students are fighting for more immediate issues: having food to eat and a place to sleep. This is scandalous. It is the validation of the push for free education, and the proof of how ineptly the matter has been handled at every single level.
Last week, The Witness reported on 30 students who had been kicked out of their residence because they had not paid their rent for over a year. Not because they are delinquent, but because their funding has not come through.
What is not clear is whether the blockage was at the level of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) or at the institutional level.
This week, DUT and uMgungundlovu TVET operations were shut down by students complaining about exactly the same thing, that allowances due in February had not yet arrived or had only been paid out to a few students.
The allowances are meant to cover food, accommodation, books and transport. Students say that even if the money comes through, it does not stretch far enough. Furthermore, debts are incurred in the meantime, exacerbating the already acute difficulty that students find themselves in. Many of these students do not have family close by who can bail them out. Most are poor and have no fallback options and no way of mobilising resources, except perhaps through loan sharks.
This is no way to study. It is no way to train future leaders and workers. These students should not be having to burn barricades to get what has been promised them.
Icons reflecting the American West are on display in the new James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St Petersburg, Florida (U.S.). The exhibition includes images of cowboys and wolves, and Native American silver-and-turquoise jewellery, and tells...