ESJF lays complaint with SAHRC against universities’ poor planning

Many prospective students who did not apply are being turned away and told to apply online. Education for Social Justice (ESJF) says it has laid a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) about prospective students who were turned away at institutions of higher learning.

ESJF says lack of clear plans by universities regarding prospective students who did not apply, shows that South African universities are not committed to ensuring that prospective students from poor households are catered for.

This as many prospective students who did not apply are being turned away and told to apply online.

Education activist Hendrik Makaneta says the actions by universities amount to a violation of human rights.

“Our stand point is that the South African Human Rights Commission must step into the terrain of higher education to make sure that they safeguard the right to learn of students, particularly those from poor backgrounds because our view is that this tendency by institutions of higher learning to stop students from coming into campuses is very much problematic because it will lead to the exclusion of the majority of students who have not yet applied,” says Makaneta.

Meanwhile, Universities South Africa CEO, Professor Ahmed Bawa, says universities should consider taking as many academic qualifying students as they can, instead of turning them away.

Universities SA and the Department of Higher Education met on Monday to discuss the way forward regarding the implementation of free education for children from poor households, as announced by President Jacob Zuma in December 2017.

Bawa says different factors need to be considered. These, he says, include ” capacity, infrastructure and number of people”.

He says if it was simple for universities to consider looking into introducing night classes to accommodate all students, then that would be precisely what would be done.

“If you have evening classes you still need professors to teach. The amount of money that the government has for subsidy that comes into the factor, so there’s quite a tight regulation of the way that universities can grow,” says Bawa.

“Having said that, it’s not going to be a train smash if Limpopo takes 5400 students instead of 5000-students. There will be a capacity to take in a small number of extra students. There are sufficient spaces,” says Bawa.




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