October 13th, 2016
University of Witwatersrand (Wits University) on Monday, protesters throwing rocks were dispersed by riot police using tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades. (Photo credit: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images)
Monday, October 10, 2016 was supposed to be the start of regular classes at the University of Witwatersrand but this did not happen as students continue their protests against tuition hikes.
Here is some background and update on the ongoing student protests in South Africa:
1. In 2015, tuition fee hikes of between 10% and 12% were proposed.
2. The demonstrations began last October at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Students blocked the entrance to the university campus in protest against proposed hike in fees by 10.5% for 2016.
3. Under the banner #FeesMustFall, demonstration caused the closure of some of the country’s top universities. President Zuma ordered a freeze on tuition fees for a year.
4. Students have been protesting since September 20th, following the education minister’s announcement that universities can raise tuition up to 8 percent.
5. Protests at many universities have been peaceful. But at the University of Cape Town, protesters lobbed petrol bombs.
Students protesting under the “FeesMustFall” banner. (Photo credit: BBC)
6. Fire destroyed a library at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
7. Fires were set at Cape Peninsula of Technical (CPUT).
8. Students at Rhodes University put up burning barricades on campus streets.
9. President Jacob Zuma says the damage has cost the government more than $40 million.
10. According to President Zuma, the government has also absorbed $1 billion after similar protests forced a tuition fee freeze last year.
11. Annual increases in student fees differ between universities as fees are determined by institutions. Fees also vary by degree programs.
12. The government subsidizes tuition for poorer students, but undergraduate fees can be as high as $5,000 a year, which makes it unreachable for many black students.
13. More than two decades after the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africans continue to face extreme income inequality. The students want the opportunities they were promised when apartheid ended.
14. Protests show growing disillusionment with the governing African National Congress (ANC), which took power after 1994.
15. On Tuesday, October 11, 2016, President Zuma announced the establishment of a Ministerial Task Team to resolve the current impasse at institutions of higher learning. Those invited to serve on the Task include heads of the following Ministries: The Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Minister of Higher Education and Training, Minister of Science and Technology, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Minister of Police, Minister of State Security, Minister of Defense and Military Veterans, and Minister of Home Affairs. Absent from the team is the Minister of Finance who is set to answer a summons to appear in court on November 2. Ultimately, it is the Finance Ministry that would be tasked with finding the funds to address the funding issue for higher education.
For an audio/webinar presentation of this blog report on student protests in South Africa, please click here: http://www.anymeeting.com/mwemfxacpupn/E954DD83804B3F
The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.