Statement from the UCT Alumni Advisory Board

20 Sep 2016 - 13:45

At its latest meeting, the Executive of the Alumni Advisory Board of the University of Cape Town noted the Heher Commission on Fees appointed by the President recently held hearings in Cape Town. The University of Cape Town, led by our Vice Chancellor, made submissions to the Commission on ho w the burden of costs of higher education could be distributed so that the burden of costs could be more equitably shared amongst the key stakeholders. We are assured that such an approach would ensure that the most needy and deserving students would receive financial support. We also urge the state to provide or stand surety for loans to the missing middle, tapering off when one student's family has higher income than another.

We regret to note that the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Dr. Max Price, was physically accosted and subject to abuse by a group claiming to be UCT students, or students who are undergoing disciplinary processes at the university by reasons of alleged misconduct. We are deeply pained by this misconduct and we extend our support to the Vice Chancellor at this most difficult and challenging time in the life of our university. We call upon all students to desist from any semblance of unlawful actions as they pursue their legitimate goals.

Regarding an appropriate response to the funding crisis at universities, UCT included, we hold the view that a comprehensive and holistic approach to the fees crisis needs to be undertaken. It is our hope that the outcome of the fees commission will be a review of the funding models for higher education. Expert opinion suggests that the contribution of government to funding higher education in South Africa is lagging far behind desired and necessary levels, while the universities are delivering on greater enrolments.

Meanwhile the subsidy per student from government has not kept up with demand, nor will it in future. Universities can no longer shoulder alone the burden of this deficit. We call upon government to urgently correct this anomaly.

We are very proud that UCT continues to offer both staff and students, as well as the South African public, quality higher education comparable to any in the world. As the Alumni Advisory Board we will do all that we can to support all initiatives that would honour the academic prestige of UCT.

Signed,

Dianna Yach, Chair, UCT Alumni Advisory Board
Barney Pityana, President, UCT Convocation
Keith Gottschalk, member, UCT Alumni Advisory Board

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