There is an on-going struggle for free higher education in South Africa. Recently, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has made it almost impossible for students to study.
Just last week, students at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth protested over demanding the payment of allowances from NSFAS. The strike was led by the South African Student Congress (SASCO) who stated that NSFAS is in a complete shambles and are depriving students their right to learn.
“It cannot be that a certain group of students are expected to continue with tests, examinations, and assignments without textbooks, meals, and the relevant support material they would have received from NSFAS.”
SACO highlighted that an estimated 80% of first year students at Universities and Tvet College have still not received funding from NSFAS and this has now left them without accommodation, transport and meals.
Aside from students who’s applications have been received and processed, there are those that have had to drop-out as NSFAS has not even processed their paperwork.
Other students have had to make plans in order to keep studying. Some have turned to friends and family and others have had to use informal means of labour in order to get by.
Students are unable to focus, let alone enjoy their varsity experience when they have to worry about when they will be kicked out due to unpaid fees. Many students have taken to social media to express their deep depression and anxiety over the matter.
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