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Is there a breakthrough in the #FeesMustFall debate?

By Nov 6, 2017 No Comments

Is there a breakthrough in the #FeesMustFall debate?

The world watched in amazement as the unprecedented #FeesMustFall student led protest movement ignited throughout South Africa in 2015. Tertiary institutions were brought to a halt as the voices of students united in unison, calling for free decolonised education. Amongst the many placards on display were the arguments that prisoners in the country study for free, and why one ought to first commit a crime for a shot at free education.

Time and time again the #FeesMustFall movement has resurrected with renewed strength, harnessing international support as well as that of other African students. Hundreds of students were arrested during these protests, but pressures from the global arena led to their eventual release. The demand was/is clear: fees must fall.

But seriously, can fees really fall?

Is this a tangible demand or just a constantly trending social media hashtag that elicits memes, opinions, protests and then fades. Only to come alive again after a couple of months? According to Ihsaan Bassier, who chairs the University of Cape Town’s Free Education Planning Group task team the answer is yes, free education is indeed possible.

No kidding, how?

The question that comes to mind is – Is it sustainable and feasible to look into free education, and if so where would the funding to back up such a radical request come from? We all know that in the end, it comes down to the money. Just in case you are also thinking “where the heck would the dough (money) be coming from; keep reading.

Show me the money

The task team interrogated fee-free higher education and came up with six possible sources of funding which include government, community service, restructure of fees, income contingent loans, graduate tax and corporate. For more information, download this free and detailed document titled Protesting Policy: Interrogating Free Decolonised Higher Education Funding.

Simply put, there is hope. It helps to know that the voices of students can be heard and that even though it may sometimes seem silent; there is activity going on behind the scenes.

It reminds us that nothing is impossible if you realign your posture and unite! The #FeesMustFall debate is an ongoing matter, but we just thought we should give you an update on the somewhat significant breakthrough. We can but hope…

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