South Africaâ€™s higher education sector has been rocked over the last two years as the Fees Must Fall protests at universities, colleges and technikons have exposed and emphasised the financial struggles of aspiring graduates. But as the political drama between the state, students and university management has entered the fray, attention has been diverted from the core matter at hand – the narrative of everyday people struggling for access to education and the systemic exclusion of which this speaks.
Through this six-part series The Daily Vox hopes to reprioritise these voices.
The Daily Vox interviewed people from across the country who are struggling for higher education funding, some of whom survive on basic grants and pensions for their needs.
Thulani is from the Eastern Cape and lives with his mother, who is ill and survives on government grants. He is passionate about maths and science and wants to study Chemical Engineering at CPUT. Heâ€™s been accepted at CPUT but canâ€™t afford the deposit. If he receives funding to study, he will be the second person in his family to obtain a university degree.
Olwenkosi Simthatha Khafu
Olwenkosi has wanted to study Retail Business Management at CPUT since she matriculated in 2015. She is planning on starting second year but canâ€™t afford the R49, 000 in fees. After applying for NSFAS, she has been kept waiting for a response since May 2016. Her mother is a single parent and has struggled to find a job since 2015, and the family lives on her grandparentâ€™s pension money.
Sariel lives with his five family members who all depend of his fatherâ€™s pension of R18, 000 a year. He wants to study a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at UNISA, where he was accepted. However, he canâ€™t afford the fees of R13, 020, or the registration fee. He wants to enter the corporate world and help young people succeed.
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