Disgruntled students who still haven’t received their National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allowances at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape have embarked on a protest.
They claim that they haven’t received their allowances since the beginning of this academic year. The protest took place during the launch of a multi-million rand student accommodation project at the institution.
The students asked Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande to intervene.
Funding remains a challenge for many students at higher learning institutions in the country. It has led to some dropping out of university. These students say they are in a desperate place and they accuse authorities of not taking their plight seriously.
“We have been waiting for our allowances since March, we haven’t eaten since. The reason why we are here is mainly because we have been trying for amends. We have been trying to reach out to all the people who are relevant who can help us to actually get our allowances but there is no answer,” says a student.
Blade Nzimande defends NSFAS
Meanwhile, Nzimande says the students who are protesting are a minority from programmes that NSFAS stopped funding.
“Many of them who are receiving the very same NSFAS funding that is making it possible for them to continue with their education, that there are instances where there may be challenges on when and how the allowances are received must not detract from the fact that these students are actually receiving allowances. Some of the students who are protesting I am made to understand are those who are in programs that are no longer supported by NSFAS as per our policy of government.”
The new student village is set to accommodate over 2 000 students. Minister Nzimande also committed to building a new library at the University of Fort Hare.
Student Protests | Fort Hare University students protest over the slow processing of allowances: