At a time when the youth of our nation should be taking centre stage, we see the light dim down on the futures of our neediest students.
Minister Blade Nzimande, yesterday, announced that the Department of Higher Education and Training has secured R1 billion towards the NSFAS crisis. Many who have been commenting on the matter reckon that the student body should be grateful for this development, and right they are. However, the NSFAS crisis has still not been resolved.
A large portion of the funding allocated for NSFAS this year will cover the student debts that were created by the 2013 crisis. The current NSFAS crisis was induced by a R2.6 billion deficit. This means that despite the R1 billion injection, there will still be hundreds of thousands of students that will be left out in the cold with no hope for a better future.
The DA Youth, yesterday, organised a 24 hour sit-in outside Minister Nzimande’s office, in solidarity with the thousands of students who have been denied access to institutions of higher learning and those who have slept on pavements because they were denied access into campus residences due to this NSFAS crisis.
The demand was simple, for Minister Nzimande to commit a full R2.6 billion to cover the deficit because no young South African should be denied the right to an education on the basis of their socio-economic circumstance.
As the DA Youth in the Eastern Cape we stand in full support of this initiative because we know that a national DA government would increase the NSFAS budget in order to avoid what is fast becoming the ‘Annual NSFAS Crisis’ phenomenon.
The Democratic Alliance policy is for NSFAS assistance to be expanded to provide for all qualifying students who cannot afford to study further. This is because we believe that no person should be excluded from opportunities to pursue further education because they cannot afford it.
We salute those fellow democrats who stayed up all night outside the Ministers office and we urge the Minister to explore all possible avenues in an effort to put this matter to rest. An investment in the future of our youth is an investment in the future of our country.
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