While we acknowledge that the state has contributed to the delay in the release of the final report of the Heher Fees Commission for consideration by all stakeholders in higher education, we believe that there has been strategic policy guidance from the state as well as internal consultative meetings between affected universities’ managers, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and the Department of Higher Education and Training.
The network does not support the chaotic storming of university gates advocated by some. This will be tantamount to chaos.
We call on all 26 universities to extend their admission deadlines for the acceptance of more applications to cater for the students who are to benefit from the Fee Free higher education plan.
The admission deadlines of most universities for the 2018 academic year have closed.
While we note university management concerns regarding chaotic registration processes, the emphasis on exclusively online applications will hamper the access by poor rural communities who cannot access technology.
It is the responsibility of vice- chancellors and university management teams – and not the state – to offer tangible operational plans on how the free-fee dispensation for the poor will be operationalised.
Each university is to develop and communicate an operational plan in line with the resourcing at its disposal.
We call on universities to:
Publicly declare the disaggregated number of students planned to be admitted for 2018 in terms of planned normal admissions versus Fee Free admissions.
Publicly declare what contingency measures are in place to address additional students in terms of the mooted Fee Free access plan. (How many new buildings to be rented, how many new lecturers to be recruited.)
Publicly declare how many Fee Free students will benefit from blended learning (e-learning access, distance correspondence, telematic learning) etc.
What internal cost-cutting measures are to be put in place to reduce operational costs and improve productivity and efficiency of resources.
We call on USAF not to overstep its own mandate but to respect the statutory mandate of university councils in terms of the various statutory provisions of the higher education sector.
Written by Mothepane Seolonyane IOL https://www.iol.co.za/education/hetn-proposes-innovative-solutions-to-sas-higher-education-funding-crisis-c4db1d45-aeeb-44de-9e5c-7d449300eb7f