Equal Education calls on government to fund poor students

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Lobby group Equal Education has called on the government to find more funding to pay for poor students studying at tertiary institutions, saying millions of rands have been wasted due to tender corruption.

This as students across the country plan to continue protesting against financial exclusion in the 2021 academic year.

The Department of Higher Education says first-year and continuing students, who have already qualified for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding , are now able to register at tertiary institutions.

“The excuse around COVID-19 is not going to buy us anymore. We can’t be saying that we took all the money in the country to focus on COVID-19. There should be other plans. There were tenders that were given to government departments that were carelessly used to respond to PPEs (sic). The only way we can voice our frustrations is through peaceful protests, going to the streets to raise awareness about the issues that they face in schools. People have a right to protest as we are protected by the constitution to protest,” says Sindisa Monakali, Equal Education’s National Council Deputy Chairperson.

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Earlier this week, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said he hoped cabinet would approve additional funding for NSFAS as it does not have adequate resources to fund first-year students this year.

The Department of Higher Education and Training said that cabinet had agreed that funding should be reprioritised from the department’s budget in order to ensure that all qualifying students are able to receive funding support for the 2021 academic year.

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