Statement on the current situation in some of our tertiary institutions
The leadership of the AFM of SA welcomes the efforts by Government to address the funding of students at our tertiary institutions. While the recent statement by the Minister of Higher education does not cover the ideal of a free education from primary to tertiary it is welcomed as it does addresses the needs of poor families and of the middle class professionals who are unable to fund the education of their children.
The call for no fee increase from some of the other sectors has been noted. It is, however, evident that such a demand will not be realizable in the short term.
In this regard we call upon the Presidential Commission of Enquiry into higher education and training funding to work in such a pace that it completes its mandate sooner than later.
Students who are not able to afford education at tertiary institutions should not be denied the opportunity to study. All efforts should be made to assist such students.
We are also aware that issues of concern go beyond the question of funding. Issues related to transformation are still on the cards and need to be finalized.
We call upon the students to respect the properties of the Higher learning institutions. The damage and the destruction of these properties cannot be condoned. Destruction of property does not advance the course for bringing down study fees and transformation.
We are concerned about the intimidation of those who want to continue with their studies. We are also concerned about academic programs that have been suspended in some of our universities as a result of the violent protest. We firmly believe that it is possible to engage without halting the education process.
It is our strong view that all issues should be resolved around the table. In this regard we support the South African Council of Churches call for a full multi-sector National Convention for Comprehensive Education, comprising of all student formations together with all stakeholders, to craft a comprehensive package of proposals, including the funding required.
As a church we call upon our members to make the current situation in our corridors of higher learning a daily prayer item.
ISSUED BY PAST MG MAHLOBO THE PRESIDENT OF THE AFM OF SA