South Africa students plan to shut universities over funding

A South African student movement plans to shut down the nation’s 26 public universities until the government meets demands including clearing debt and allowing free registration for the 2021 academic year.

The step follows a weekend meeting of the South African Union of Students after protests on campuses including the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg last week left one person dead. Students began demonstrations after being prevented from registering because they failed to secure state subsidies or were in arrears on their fees.

The student movement has called for debt of 13 billion rand ($874 million) to be cleared, the allocation of funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, or NSFAS, to new students and for laptops to be provided as universities have moved their academic programs online.

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