Government will regret its decision of a 0% increase in tuition fees, University of the Free State Vice Chancellor Professor Jonathan Jansen said on Thursday.
Jansen was speaking at the Cape Town Club about the recent student protests and the future of tertiary institutions.
He also highlighted three possible scenarios that could play out in terms of the scrapping of the 2016 fee increment.
Jansen said it would take extraordinary leadership from government to “get us out of this mess”.
According to Jansen, the government’s first option should be to “eat humble pie” and renegotiate the 0% fee increment.
“The president and vice chancellors made decisions they are going to regret,” he said.
“We were forced to make promises with money we don’t have. If you say there will be no fee increase, we’re in deep shit. Where is the money going to come from?”
Another scenario would be to relook at the financing of the entire education system.
“I think money should be invested in pre-school education – this is where the inequality starts. You’re dealing with a very small elite at the wrong end of the equation. What you really should be doing is recapitalising the entire basic education system,” he said.
The last scenario was what Jansen called the “Marikana route”.
“And God forbid that we ever go there,” he said, referring to what might happen should government renege on its promise of no fee hikes due to lack of finances.
“I really pray that doesn’t happen. It doesn’t end well.”
Jansen also said the #FeesMustFall movement was a “wake up call” about “unresolved inequalities” in society. He said the protests were never simply about fees.
He believed the protests were about concerns surrounding a lack of transformation and the exclusionary costs of higher education. News24