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Over 60% of students think tertiary fees too high

Oct 20 2015 14:32

Cape Town - Something needs to be done to bring down the cost of tertiary education in South Africa, Motshabi Nomvethe, product specialist at PPS said on Tuesday.

“Government must recognise the value of generating skilled professionals to ensure key skills – such as medical doctors, engineers and lawyers - are developed and retained in the country. It is time for the government to look for ways to increase its funding to universities,” said Nomvethe.

More than 60% of South African students taking part in the 2015 PPS Student Confidence Index (SCI), said they believe the cost of tertiary education in the country is too high. The survey was conducted among nearly 900 students in their fourth year or above, studying at a university towards a profession-specific degree, such as engineering, medicine, law or accounting.

The results of the survey mirror current university fee protests at SA universities like Wits, the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of Stellenbosch, according to Nomvethe.

Since 62% of the students surveyed believe the cost of tertiary education in SA to be too high, Nomvethe said it is clearly seen as a huge barrier to entry.  

READ: Matthew Lester: University out of reach. Current fee model unsustainable

“So many young people want to study further so that they can have access to the same opportunities as those who can afford to study, however, the rising cost of education hinders them,” said Nomvethe.

The survey also revealed a lack of confidence among respondents (61%) in the ability of the government’s economic policies to stimulate job growth. In addition, 56% of students surveyed would consider moving abroad for work purposes in the next five years.

In Nomvethe's view, internships can offer valuable work experience and assist students in building relationships and connections so that they have a better chance of securing employment once they finish their studies.

READ: Patel: State internships will empower youth

Nomvethe said Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande told delegates at the Higher Education Summit that the government intends on regulating university fees and meetings with vice-chancellors must be setup to discuss fee increases that are higher than inflation.

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