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Higher education crisis in South Africa as protests and violence grow


South Africa

Higher education crisis in South Africa as protests and violence grow

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Police and students have engaged in running battles at Wits University in Johannesburg.

The clashes come 24 hours after the institution reopened after a month long closure because of protests against a planned increase in tuition fees.

Students are demanding free education, while the university has warned the entire academic year risks cancellation if classes continue to be disrupted:Fasiha Hassan, is the leader of the Student Representative Council:“If there is loss in the academic programme it will not be the fault of students, it will be the fault of the government and of the state for failing to address a national crisis. And not a national crisis that emerged yesterday, something that has been for years and years and years growing and really snowballing into what we have now.’‘

The crisis in higher education spans the whole of South Africa with protests taking place nationwide.

Suspended students at Stellenbosch University are on hunger strike.

Lonwabo Nkonzo explains why they have taken the drastic action:“Well, we are as suspended students having a hunger strike because we have been suspended by the university unlawfully, and not been given lawful reasons as to why we are being suspended. And this suspension is something that was made to silence the students’ movement.”

President Jacob Zuma ordered a freeze on tuition fees for 12 months after similar protests last year, but a government decision to raise fees by 8 percent next year has caused chaos.

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