During the past days South Africa has witnessed the rising up of students whose tolerance with an inefficient funding system, reached its limit.
Years of steady build-up of discontent and universities’ ineptitude to deal with the problem, erupted in protest that, received global coverage.
The South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE) has saluted the students for the principled manner in which they demanded creative models of funding students’ university studies.
According to the institute the announcement of a 0% increase in fees for next year by President Jacob Zuma seems to have been taken to avert a crisis.
With the “Fees must Fall” protests on our doorsteps, it is necessary for a long overdue relook of funding models for students, as the present system is failing many students.
Manglin Pillay, CEO of SAICE, asserts that not nearly enough money is spent on the education and training of engineering graduates.
“Universities are not receiving adequate funding for basic and post-graduate studies, which means that fewer engineers are being sufficiently trained and developed.
“Engineering departments at universities should have the necessary funding to extend their facilities to be able to accommodate more students to be trained to answer in the scarcest of government’s priority scarce skills.
“This also affects existing lecturers, some of whom have not necessarily acquired the highest qualifications because of work pressure and lack of funds.
It becomes increasingly difficult to find lecturers willing to join the academia because of inappropriate remuneration, thus affecting the quality of student education.”
Pillay continues, “There should also be a concerted effort from government to react on invitations sent to Ministers to involve themselves with experts in the civil engineering industry and academia in order to address these and other pressing issues. SAICE offers government its assistance for the betterment of society.”