National 10.9.2016 08:45 am

Government must help poor students, says Jansen

Professor Jonathan Jansen, who is stepping down as vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State. Photo by Gallo Images / Nardus Engelbrecht

Professor Jonathan Jansen, who is stepping down as vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State. Photo by Gallo Images / Nardus Engelbrecht

20 universities are in danger of sliding into the red if a funding plan is not found, says Jansen.

Former University of the Free State (UFS) vice-chancellor and rector Professor Jonathan Jansen says government should provide free education for the poor university students but the middle class students should pay according to family income.

Commenting on the ongoing #FeesMustFall campaign, in which students are demanding free education, Jansen said the solution should be based on three commitments, beginning with the government providing free education to the poor.

“That the middle classes pay on a sliding scale based on a total family income and number of children at university. That the loans provided to the middle class is recovered through the South African Revenue Service from the moment of first salary earned in order to make the funding system sustainable,” Jansen said.

On the effect of demands for no fee increase at tertiary level, the outspoken academic leader said if government does not follow through on a feasible, sustainable and just plan for funding higher education, almost 20 universities will go into the red and never recover. “Students should accept that across-the-board free education is not possible in this kind of economy and government should accept that the poor must be funded for higher education,” he said.

Jansen, who finished at the Bloemfontein-based university at the end of August, did not think racism would end soon at universities. “There will always be racist incidents at all our institutions for decades to come. Institutions do not simply lose their values, beliefs and orientations because there are new rules and leaders in place.

“The best we can hope for is that racism is addressed, talked about, pushed back and dealt with when it does occur so that incidents are rare rather than routine, and that the majority culture of decency and respect prevails,” Jansen said.

poll

today in print