Student news wrap 15/03/19

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News from around the country.

TVET students kicked out for not paying rent

Students from Mapulaneng TVET Campus had to spend Sunday night (March 10) sleeping on the floors at the Acornhoek Police Station after being kicked out for not paying rent.

Students told Mpumalanga News that funds were transferred to the college by The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) but that they had not been distributed to the students. Students were stuck without food and accommodation and were forced to sleep in the campus admin building and the library. NSFAS Administrator Dr Randall Carolissen said in a statement that the institution has engaged with the Student Representative Council (SRC) and campus management in the current crisis and would provide further support to resolve this situation before the end of the week. This incident is the latest to rock the NSFAS after countrywide protests and lockdowns caused by students not receiving their allowances. – Read the full story on the Mpumalanga News site

UKZN open despite vandalism and protests

The University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) is open for business despite violence and vandalism at the Westville campus. Wednesday (March 13) was the day selected to resume lectures after the violent protests that happened the week before.

However, students alleged to belong to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), staged a protest and tried to torch a security quad bike, smashed windows and threw stones at police and private security personnel. A building was also set on fire and tyres were burned on the campus, forcing another shut down. The protest happened despite management and student leaders, including the EFF, coming to an agreement that there would be no more unrest as they worked towards solving grievances including postgraduate funding and security issues at student residences. While things appear calm, several students told the African News Agency (ANA), who were on campus on Wednesday, that they would not be resuming studies at the institution after completing the year. – Read the full article on The Citizen‘s news site

Students not spending their allowances on textbooks

The National Student Finance Aid Scheme (NSFAS)’s decision to pay all student allowances in cash from the start of this year is having some alarming side effects. The allowance is there to assist eligible students with funding for their books, accommodation, food, and travel. It used to take the form of vouchers and ring-fencing money to the third parties involved.

Last week (March 8) , The South African Booksellers Association (SABA) expressed concern over this decision, after their academic sector members reported that cash disbursements have led to declines in books sales. Among those affected is Van Schaik bookstores, which has 63 stores across the country. “Our sales are down, due to the predominantly NSFAS funded campuses that experienced a tragic drop in textbook purchases,” said Van Schaik managing director Stephan Erasmus. He voiced concern that by using the money for other things, students could end up not covering their costs of books for the full year, and then drop out of their studies. Botswana and eSwatini who both abolished ring-fencing of book allowances in 2017, saw an 80% decline in textbooks sold in Botswana and a 94% decline in textbooks sold at universities in eSwatini. – Read the full story on the IOL news site.