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Nzimande to meet with vice chancellors over fees

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Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande is to meet with vice chancellors from various institutions to tackle the issue of fee hikes.

The announcement follows a turbulent few days across institutions of higher learning throughout the country as students protested over fee increases.

“I am tomorrow [Tuesday] convening a meeting with representative delegations of vice chancellors, university council chairs, students and workers to discuss and come up with a common framework…,” said Nzimande.

“An approach must be developed in order to come up with a dispensation that takes into account the difficult circumstances facing especially the students who come from poor families, as well as the financial pressures facing the system.”

Nzimande called on all stakeholders to negotiate before resorting to protests.

Protests started at the University of Witwatersrand when management announced a fee increment of 10.5%. The announcement saw students blocking entrances to the institution, resulting in academic activities be halted.

The Wits protest was followed by students at the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University taking to the streets to protest the fee increases. Students at the University of Pretoria and at Stellenbosch University have also signalled their intention to protest the proposed fee increments for 2016.

Nzimande called on students to allow negotiations to take place. He also called on university management to be cognisant of problems faced by students.

“Considering the current economic challenges and fiscal constraints facing the country, the department urges all university councils and management to exercise greater caution and sensitivity in the process of determining fee increases in their institutions. It’s imperative that they consult all relevant key stakeholders in order to minimise the detrimental impact on poor students,” said Nzimande.

He added that students needed to be brought on board for frank and honest discussions to ensure that there was stability at universities. News24

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