As if the “Fees Must Fall” was not enough and somehow it seems like Deja-vu all over again as the students are back were they started with protests. The cost of a university degree in South Africa is so high that getting student loans are no longer options especially for students coming from low economic backgrounds. Although I am at a private institution, tuition hikes are no exception because whether in a private or public institution, the number of students dropping out keeps rising.
On Monday the Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande announced the 2017 fee increment. According to the Education and Training Minister, Universities should determine the level of fee adjustments for 2017 with the condition that the increment should not be above 8%. This announcement has a number of effects on students because firstly, the students have to protests to get the government attention that increasing tuition fees will lead to drop outs. Secondly, the more students protests the longer the students have to wait to graduate.
Despite the fact that South Africa’s university admission has risen for the past 15 years, tuition hikes continue lessen the number of students that graduate at the end of their degree programs because students can no longer afford tuition fees and can also no longer get loans and scholarships. Therefore, with all the hardships that students go through, it is safe to say the Ministry of Higher Education and Training is falling to fulfil its purpose and mission. The ministry is falling to educate and prepare the younger generation for productive roles in the work place because equipping the younger generation has the ability of contributing to national building while enriching lives.
Although student engagement has the ability of enhancing student learning while creating efficiency and effectiveness, South Africa’s higher education has the challenge of improving student services such as tuition fees. Secondly, students from lower-income backgrounds are less likely to remain enrolled, persist through, and graduate from public institutions.