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Minister of Education’s Call to the Student Leadership in Higher Education

19 February 2008

The Minister is deeply concerned about the disruption to the start of the academic year at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) that has led to its temporary closure.  This follows close on the earlier protests at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).

The campaign for “free higher education” that is being waged by some student organizations is causing unnecessary disruption and misleading students and their parents about current policies and practices.

The Minister therefore wishes to reiterate that, through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the government provides for loans and bursaries to academically able students who require financial assistance to help pay for the cost of their higher education studies.  A means test is applied to determine whether students are eligible for NSFAS funding, as well as levels of contributions by students and their families.  In addition, a range of bursaries and scholarships are available through individual universities and the private sector. 

The Minister has called on universities to make every effort to assist students, in particular those in good academic standing, to meet their costs.  She has also called on private sector bodies to expand their bursary and scholarship support. 

The Minister calls on the student leadership in higher education to ensure a smooth start to the academic year at all institutions.  Where there are problems, these should be addressed through engagement with university managements.      

Issued by the Ministry of Education

Lunga Ngqengelele

Ministerial Spokesperson

012 312 5538

082 566 0446

ngqengelele.l@doe.gov.za

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