Earlier this week students at four universities in KwaZulu-Natal started protesting and demanding that the institutions should ensure safe accommodation, as well as free education. This was followed by students at Wits university, who too want their specific demands to be met.
According to the Minister of Higher Education, Naledi Pandor, however, this continued disruptive action could have dire consequences in the long run.
She is urging students to return to their studies as they run the risk of failing to meet the requirements for their degrees or qualifications.
“It will severely affect the academic year, resulting in many not being able to finish their degrees on time, if ever,” said Pandor.
According to the Minister, the Department is willing to assist the different institutions which are facing challenges by providing the necessary support. She has also directed the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) administrator to prioritise providing responses to all student queries, and has assured that every query is being addressed as quickly as possible.
“I urge all students organisations to focus on real student concerns and to make every effort to resolve problems without impacting on the academic programme,” concluded Pandor.