The on-campus registration process at the University of the Free State has not yet commenced – this after a protest by South African Students Congress (Sasco) members on Wednesday who accused the University of the “purging of poor students”.
In a statement issued by Sasco branch chairperson, Asive Dlanjwa, Sasco is absolutely appalled and disgusted by the behaviour that has been demonstrated by the UFS that seeks to purge and deny poor students education.
In reaction to the protest, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, told members of the media during a media briefing this afternoon that it is unacceptable for their own students to block one of the entrances at the UFS as people come from afar to seek help for their academic future.
“What is unacceptable is that we have students and parents that come not only from Bloemfontein but from other parts of the country to come and seek information and advice. For them to be blocked at the entrance by our own students is just totally unacceptable, and that behaviour we just can’t allow.
“We are prepared from various angles, whether it is safety and security or whether it is from a legal perspective. However, our approach is always to engage first, and we will continue with the engagement if and when required. The legal process and the safety or security process will always be the last resort,” says Prof Petersen.
According to a statement provided by UFS some media reports that the registration process commenced this week and that registration points on the Bloemfontein Campus have been shut down by a number of students, are untrue.
Although the online registration process started on 7 January 2019, the on-campus registration process on the university’s Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses will commence on 21 January 2019.
“The only student academic services currently available on the campus are that of information services and enquiries from students visiting faculties, as well as assistance with online access to the Central Application Clearing House (CACH).”
Prof Petersen added that tuition fees have increased and this was announced by the Minister of Higher Education. Across the system the tuition fees have been increased by 5.3%, a fee that the council has approved for tuition for 2019. The residence fees has also increased with 7%.
“However, students must remember that if you are a NSFAS student you actually won’t feel the increase. During the course of last year we had what we call gap funding or a gap grant which was more applicable to what we call the missing middle students. That gap grant was only applicable to the subsequent increases as from 2016, so again that group did not feel the annual increases. However, the gap grant is going to be phased out.
“Those that have received the gap grant in the past will still receive the gap grant but they won’t receive this year’s increase of 5.3%, so that is the only difference they would feel. We also have students that are funded by outside funders who fund the full tuition cost, so I don’t think these students will feel the increase either,” Prof Petersen concluded.
Enquiries regarding registration can be directed to the university’s call centre at 051-401-9666. Detailed information about the 2019 registration process is available at www.ufs.ac.za. – Pierce van Heerden