HESA condemns violent protests

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pretoria - Higher Education South Africa (HESA) has condemned students who engaged in violent protests to voice their demands for free education in public higher education institutions.

HESA on Thursday said it understood the plight of parents and students regarding the cost of higher education which is worsened by inflationary pressures and the prevailing negative economic climate, however violence was not the solution.

HESA said tuition fees are integral to the current funding arrangements for public universities.
The current funding arrangements make provision for three streams of income including the subsidy from the state and tuition fees. The third stream income is in the region of 50 percent, 40 percent and 10 percent of the total income from which universities fund their operations.

"This is a status quo arrangement, which can only significantly change if government revised the funding formula in line with its commitment to progressively introduce free education to the first degree level," HESA chairperson Professor Errol Tyobeka said.

Tyobeka said the sector is committed to ensuring that academically deserving students are not denied learning opportunities solely on the basis of lack of finance. However, he cautioned against higher education being reduced to a political issue as this impacts negatively on the academic and social fibre of institutions that are central to national development.

"We encourage all students to maintain stability and to derive optimum benefit of the time they spend at institutions," Tyobeka said, reminding students that 2010 will be a shorter academic year due to FIFA World Cup.

A number of higher education institutions came into a standstill on Thursday demanding free education.