University of KwaZulu-Natal students have beenÂ protestingÂ this week against changes toÂ the requirements for accessing financial aidÂ and increases toÂ registration fees. The Daily Vox Team visited UKZN’s Westville campus to ask students how they feel about the changes and the protests they’ve sparked.
We are all from different backgrounds and mine is one that wouldnâ€
I am not into student politics, but I am also currently on financial aid. I am a hard worker and I feel like I will make it through the year with the proposed passing requirements in order to get financial aid. The strike has disturbed my studies because I was supposed to write tests this week. I am against the registration fee increment; it is unreasonable and the protest might have to go on longer because that affects everyone, even those who are not on financial aid. I hope management listens to students eventually, because it looks like that is the only way that the protests will stop.
I heard bullet sounds and noises on Sunday evening and when I got to know what the commotion was about, I understood and supported their demands even though I was not there personally. I am not on financial aid, so one would think that I couldnâ€
A lot of people are not going to afford the new registration fees, because they canâ€
This is quite an inconvenience because this week I had to write two tests, one of which has been cancelled. I was not looking forward to writing it after schools reopen but now I have no choice. With the current situation, I think they are being reasonable in a way because they are trying to get the message across but I think they have taken it a bit too far in terms of burning and destroying the premises. It was hard to register this year because the registration fees had increased from last year. I hope that the studentsâ€
I think the new requirements for financial aid are unfair. Students work very hard to get the minimum 50% and sometimes they do not even make it. So now, if they increase [the passÂ rate required to get financial aid] from 50% to 70%, they just want to exclude learners from getting funding because not everyone will meet that requirement. That will lead to students dropping out. They are on financial aid Â because they canâ€
The university is making decisions without incorporatingÂ the students. The students have a valid point on protesting against the increase of registration money because everyone is affected by it. I am a part-time student, but I am also affected because I run a shop on campus, so everything has come to a halt due to these protests. On the other hand, financial aid is already helping students to study towards their desired careers; the least they can do in return is show commitment by excelling in their studies. If not, then someone else should be given that opportunity and I think that is the message that management is trying to get across.
– Reporting by Lizeka Maduna and Zilungile Mnisi