Free education is a basic human right

Students from the University of Pretoria marched and protested about financial exclusion to the offices of the department of higher education and training in the Pretoria CBD to deliver a memorandum of demands.
Students from the University of Pretoria marched and protested about financial exclusion to the offices of the department of higher education and training in the Pretoria CBD to deliver a memorandum of demands.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Annually, our country celebrates Human Rights Day on March 21 and commemorates the Sharpeville Massacre that happened in 1960.

It is also during this month that we pay homage to all those who fought and lost their lives in the Struggle for the freedom and democracy we enjoy today. The generation of the past has fought for the political right and among others, the right to vote, the right of movement and the right of equal treatment.

They have surely achieved their objective since we are now in a democratic society where we all have the right to vote and be where we want to be. However, there is a lot that still need to be corrected.

But it is heartbreaking after so many years to see students at higher institutions fighting for free education as promised in the Freedom Charter. Thus is one fundamental right that our government should have deviated resources to address it without the need of students protesting and wasting valuable time which we have already lost due to coronavirus.

The denial of free education is an attack to the constitutional right. If our government was able to raise funds in response to Covid-19, it should use the same energy to raise funds for education. It should raise funds for the students who come from underprivilege families and have no means to fund for their tuition.

For our government to achieve “free education”, they need better structural reform and improved economy. Our government can also state wage bill, reduce the number of departments and stop bailing out state institution that are failing. The right to free education is achievable. Indeed not everyone should be funded for free education, only those who qualify for NSFAS should be given an opportunity to study for free.

Tshifhiwa Singo Tshivhase, Soshanguve

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