Students in South Africa protesting tuition increase

Protesters demonstrated against planned increased tuition fees at numerous South African universities, Monday. The demonstrations blocked roads and campus entrances, which caused classes to be cancelled at a few schools.

The New York Times reports that The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg suspended its planned 10.5 percent tuition hike until next year. The suspension is following several days of protests over the increase. The school plans to discuss the increase again soon.

The university said, in a statement that they acknowledge that higher education fees are a burden on students and families. They cited a decrease in state funded subsidies as well as a depreciation of South African currency as a reason for the new increase. There has also been a significant increase in infrastructure and utility costs.

The school is currently considering a variety of measures to ease financial pressures that students face at the university.

Similar protests were organized by students who say they cannot financially handle the fee increase at University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, and Rhodes University.

All lectures and activities have been suspended at University of Cape Town, after roads were blocked by the protesters. The protests prevented staff and students from getting to classes or places of employment. The university has recognized the students’ right to protest, but described their actions as “unlawful”.

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