by Tom Head
A battle may have been settled at the University of South Africa (UNISA) this week, but the war is far from over. Although the South African Students Congress (Sasco) have called off a planned strike, learners who have enrolled at the institution are doing everything they can to make their voices heard.
A list of demands has been drawn up by the students, who are fighting for better education conditions and more financial help from UNISA. The move has split opinion, with many supporting the movement but others venting their frustration:
But are these students being unreasonable, or have they got every right to stand their ground? We’ve quickly summarised their list of demands and you can be the judge on this one…
Demands made by UNISA students and Sasco:
Sasco are insisting that all students who are successfully accepted onto their desired courses must all receive a laptop to continue their studies. UNISA have acquiesced to this particular demand, but debate is still raging over the “quality” of laptop each student should receive. Many are unhappy that cheap options are being supplied.
As well as a laptop, the student movement has been asking for a R5 000 grant to put towards their textbooks. With academic publications costing a pretty penny, learners believe UNISA has to do more to help them with their education.
Reduce fee hikes of 5.3%
Not quite a #FeesMustFall demo, but this is high up on Sasco’s list of priorities. Some students are now paying up to R25 000 to study for an honours degree, and this is likely to remain a bone of contention for the whole academic year.
Smoother application process
Demonstrators also feel that some students are denied access to applying for a course, due to an “ambiguous process” that impedes candidates from securing what they want. Cosatu are firmly behind these plans: