Parliament criticises universities’ handling of protests

The South African parliament’s portfolio committee on higher education, science and innovation on Tuesday 7 March lambasted universities for suspending protesting students and for the hardline approach adopted in dealing with demonstrations on campuses, writes Phumla Mkize for Sunday World.

The committee was being briefed by student representative bodies – the South African Union of Students, which represent universities, and the South African Technical and Vocational Education and Training Student Association representing TVET colleges – on the latest developments at these institutions of higher learning.

Student bodies highlighted the challenges in different institutions of higher education, which mainly relate to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). They highlighted delays in the payment of allowances, accommodation caps of ZAR45,000 (US$2,400), delays in appeals and the misinterpretation of NSFAS progression guidelines. Some of the issues have resulted in student protests, some of which have turned violent, resulting in the suspensions and arrests of some students.
Full report on the Sunday World site