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University fees commission hears evidence in Cape Town

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Students declare hearings a “farce”

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The Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training heard arguments yesterday in favour of fee-free education.

At the Centre for the Book in Cape Town, representatives from Equal Education, the National Research Foundation, the University of the Western Cape, and the Centre for Creative Education testified before the commission, which is scheduled to report on and make recommendations about the feasibility of fee-free education and training to President Jacob Zuma by June next year.

Some groups, such as the CCE, pointed out that fee-free public education might disadvantage private institutions, while others, such as Equal Education, argued for fee-free education exclusively for poor students to reduce the disparity in opportunity for students from townships and rural areas.

Students from the Fees Must Fall protest movement were also present at the hearing and held up signs declaring the commission a “farce”.  One student who asked not to be named said,:”Education is a right, not a privilege.”

The hearing continues today for its second and final day in the city.

Listen to the recording below for some of the arguments given on why access to higher education is a priority.

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TOPICS:  Tertiary Education

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Letters

Dear Editor

Yet again we are witness to the ugliness of a small group of protesters whose actions appear to be nothing more than intimidation, stonewalling and promotion of their personal political agenda.

The issue of university fees is a serious one, and, I believe, has been given serious and thoughtful attention by many SA universities.

I was saddened, but not surprised, to view the video of Dr Price, yet again, being assaulted by some of these thugs. What their objective is, only they know. What is happening, though, appears to me to be the unravelling and dissolution of a tertiary educational system unequalled on the continent. Violence and mob rule ought to play no role in addressing serious issues. Adults need to assert their rightful place.