varsity space crisis
THERE are too many students and too few higher education institutions in the country.
Last year 109697 matriculants received university exemption but they cannot all be accommodated.
The University of the Witwatersrand can only take 5387 first-year students, while Cape Town University will accommodate only 4500.
A further 225021 pupils qualified to study at colleges and universities of technology.
The first-year intake at the Tshwane University of Technology is 16000.
Of those accepted at tertiary institutions, 80percent do not finish their studies on time and most drop out before graduating.
Despite the space constraints, the Department of Higher Education plans to double enrolment at tertiary institutions over the next five years.
Yesterday the SA Students Congress (Sasco) said there were not enough universities for students.
"We understand that the department wants to build universities in Northern Cape and Mpumalanga, but that is not enough," Sasco general secretary Lazola Ndamase said.
There are currently 23 universities in the country.
Sasco president Mbulelo Mandlana said they were disturbed that someuniversities were turning away students who had not already applied.
"This is nonsensical and unacceptable," he said.
"We call on all structures to be militant in dealing with arrogant institutions that have made it their duty to exclude students."
Mandlana said not all students were able to apply to universities when they were still in matric.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced this week that students who qualified for financial aid no longer needed to pay registration fees at universities.
Instead, the National Students Financial Aid Scheme will cover all expenses for poor students who qualified.
Sasco said they would launch a "Right To Learn Campaign" at the University of Free State next Friday.
The campaign would be launched by Mandlana, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, Young Communist League leader Buti Manamela and Free State Premier and ANC chairperson Ace Magashule, under the theme "Right to learn 20turn: turning the tide against exclusions".
"Through this campaign we will intensify the struggle to increase access to institutions of higher learning," said Mandlana.