As elders and pastors of Jubilee Community Church we want to express our continued support of students who are lawfully protesting the financial exclusion and untransformed institutional cultures of many of our nation’s tertiary institutions.
We understand and agree that the exclusion of students purely because of the financial terms is unacceptable and that further negotiation between the educational institutions and government is necessary to reach a solution.
We affirm that young people should not bear the brunt of the national higher learning crisis through fee increments and exclusion from quality education.
We are deeply concerned and alarmed by the rise in mental health struggles and suicides at universities. We urge our students to please utilize our pastoral care structures for their well-being.
We add our voice to other institutions calling on the Presidency to release the fees commissions report.
We affirm our students’ democratic right to protest and we are heartened by the unity of purpose expressed.
We believe our Jubilee students will act in good faith as they pursue justice and act as peacemakers in their desire for a just and equitable education policy.
If you are a Jubilee student and you have questions and concerns please feel free to talk with us.
This short summary of the main questions affecting the higher learning crisis is primarily written to inform all our students and those part of our broader evening service community. We realize that different people enter this conversation at different points with differing perspectives and different sources of information. We also are aware that many in our evening congregation may not have access to information at the same rate that students do. We therefore hope that some of this short document is helpful to you and that improves our ability to talk and care for each other. We care very much about our community. We hope that that this document helps to inform everyone and contributes to better understanding this complex and critical moment. The wellbeing of our students is very important to Jubilee so please be assured of our ongoing engagement and prayer.
Given South Africa’s history of oppression, Fee-free university education for the academically meritorious, materially poor, undergraduate student has unanimous support. The support has come from most academics, politicians and from government. The call for Fee-free education was initially championed by former minister of Higher Education Blade Mnzimande and further support is reflected in the White Paper of 1997 on Higher Education and the White Paper of 2012. There is much debate on whether Fee-free university education should be restricted to the materially poor or whether it should apply to all. This debate is important and raises important questions about the commodification of education, the practical outworking of Fee-free education on universities and the complexities of defining material poverty. It is important that these debates continue. However, as a starting position Fee-free education for the materially poor undergraduate student has wide acceptance, is a tenable solution which reflects the spirit of the constitutional commitment to redress, is the most immediately feasible solution to the current crisis and will provide thousands of students with quality education.
This definition has changed with time and over the course of the debate. In 2012 when the Minister of Education commissioned the White Paper on Fee-free university education, the materially poor were defined as “households earning less than R54,200 per annum”. This figure reflects those earning less than the lowest SARS tax bracket. By 2016 the NSFAS cut off moved to households with an income below R122,000. In 2016 there was also a response to protests with a zero percent increment for households earning less than R600,000 to release pressure on the missing middle.
There are multiple problems with NSFAS.
NSFAS is unable to keep up with the aggregate demand of enrolments in South Africa’s 26 universities. The problem in summary is that between 2007-2012 student enrolments increased by 6%, government contributions increased by 5.4% (so it lagged enrolments) and fees increased by 8.4%. The result is that in 2007 for example, approximately 98000 learners possessing university exemptions were unable to get into university or find a job. The problem of increased enrolment, decreasing funds and increasing fees is even more clear when we zoom out to the period of 2006-2015 where there has been a 33% increase in university enrolment. In 2014 approximately 31% of qualifying NSFAS applicants could not be funded.
Secondly, the Ministerial Review of NSFAS (2010) found that NSFAS and its resources “have not been well governed and optimally managed since its inception” and that it has struggled with “serious corruption”.
Thirdly, annual funding is capped at amounts significantly less than the average cost of studying at most SA universities. The burden for extra income therefore rests on students or their families which often negatively affect their chances of academic success.
Fourthly, the university practice of ‘topslicing’, where the Means Test results are disregarded and the available NSFAS funds are “shared out and spread thinly” results in partial funding for students. This leads to increased student debt and limited academic success.
Fifthly, some 72% of NSFAS students drop out every year. Students who drop out without completing their studies are still required to pay their NSFAS loan once they start earning R30000 per annum or R2500 per month at an interest rate of 4.4% (2011) thus perpetuating both loans not being repaid adequately and student poverty. Subsequently NSFAS has a very poor track record of loan recovery which further cripples the already underperforming fund.
The missing middle are too materially rich for NSFAS and too materially poor to afford university fees. These students come from households that earn more than the R122000 cut off. A simple example could be made with the MBChB 1st year degree and residence at UCT which would cost R158074 excluding registration fees. If two or more siblings attend UCT then this problem is exasperated. Provision has been introduced for an application for a UCT bursary for families with two or more children.
Various models have been presented in detail in the White Paper 2012 which affirms that “free university education for the poor in South Africa is feasible”.
To fund the approximately 640000 materially poor undergraduate students, government would have to find an additional R10 bn. To put this into perspective, the national budget is R1tn which means that government would have to find 1% of its national budget. As a first step government could start with those 400000 students currently on NSFAS which brings the amount needed to R6bn. Other suggestions are to implement progressive implementation by funding only the graduate level students. They make up 10% of all students. This would mean funding 100000 students in their final year and it would cost R1bn. Each year the project could expand as government worked on the finance model to include more students.
Various committees have presented various models that incorporate funding from multiple sources such as government, government bond, graduate tax, corporate funding, universally guaranteed Income Contingent Loans (ICLs), international donors, restructuring the national budget in areas that reflect wasteful expenditure and raising additional tax.
Ignoring the historical and philosophical underpinnings of this discussion for the sake of brevity, we can consider the primary touchpoints as it relates to transformation of the Higher Education in SA.
LANGUAGE Afrikaans remains the medium of instruction in institutions such as Stellenbosch and North-West University. In addition, students would like to explore inclusion of African languages.
CURRICULA African history, philosophy, economic systems, African knowledge for African struggles should be reflected in places of higher learning in Africa.
ENVIRONMENT & CULTURE From building names, to art, statues and the institutional culture; universities should re-contextualize its colonial heritage and African histories. Another important issue is the social dynamic of universities – the harsh decision by most universities from 2007 onwards to outsource workers reflects how institutions of higher learning have failed to reflect critically on inequality and poverty in SA. Higher learning should be preparing students for dealing with African struggles and should not - by its institutional culture - reflect continual oppression of those who have been oppressed.
CONNECTING STRUGGLES Part of the decolonial movement is that it connects struggles; “No struggle is isolated from society. Struggles feed on each other. Connecting struggles is the recognition that student struggles are worker struggles, immigrant struggles are working class struggles, and feminist struggles are land struggles.” This connection means for example; that the black student from a working-class background may be at UCT but still has to return to the problem of landlessness when they go home or it may mean that their parents are workers at an institution like UCT. Therefore, decolonial theory points out the interconnected nature of various struggles so that a comprehensive national solution may be achieved.
According to the Vice Chancellor of UCT Dr. Max Price “we have recorded one or two deaths due to suicide each year. (The national average for the same size population would be about three to four per year.) UCT is aware of 18 attempted suicides in 2015.”. UCT and other campuses have experienced a spike in suicides from 2015. It is evident that the student protests have had a dramatic effect on the mental health of students. The number of suicides is symptomatic of the seriousness of the problems faced and the deliberate isolation created by government and universities. We have responded to this challenge in the following ways:
We would like our care for students to be reflected in these five commitments going forward:
We have and continue to develop a task team, led by Kyle Johnston to help us continue to develop solutions of care for the increased mental health concerns arising out of the current environment through ongoing training of counselees. Care and counsel is available for any student in need.
We want to urge students who need counsel and care to please utilize our counsellors and care structures. If you would like to speak to someone please click here firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to encourage Jubilee members to receive PJW training and serve the campuses.
We want to communicating real care and concern for our students and acknowledge that the current crisis is very painful for you.
And we will open our venue in Observatory from Monday to Friday 10am-2pm as safe spaces to students who would like to get away from the traumatic campus environment.
We also want to humbly acknowledge our past failures and slowness to respond to this crisis. We have not always responded adequately; our processing of events has often been a lot slower than it ought to have been and we apologize for this. Please do know that we love you and along with us please continue to put your faith in Christ for his redemption through these difficult times.
On behalf of the student staff team
Pastor and Elder
Tel: 021-447-3630 Cell: 079 953 3516 email@example.com
Bassier I 2017. Protesting Policy: Interrogating Free Decolonized Higher Education Funding
Booysen S 2016. Fees Must Fall: Student Revolt, Decolonization and Governance in South Africa. Wits University Press: Johannesburg
Jansen J. 2016. Financial Mail. Article: A line in the sand
Mpofu-Walsh S 2017. Democracy & Delusion: 10 Myths in South African Politics. Tafelberg: Cape Town
M. Price 2017. UCT News. Assistance Is Available to help to prevent suicide https://www.news.uct.ac.za/article/-2017-04-23-assistance-is-available-to-help-prevent-suicide
Ray M 2016. Free Fall: Why South African Universities are in a Race Against Time. Bookstorm: Johannesburg.
REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP ON FEE FREE UNIVERSITY EDUCATION FOR THE POOR IN SOUTH AFRICA http://www.dhet.gov.za/SiteAssets/Fees%20Must%20Fall/287700266-Final-Draft-Report-of-the-Working-Group-on-Fee-Free.pdf
| HIGHER LEARNING CRISIS
 For a comprehensive analysis of how South African history has shaped South African universities see M. Ray. 2016. Free Fall: Why South African Universities are in a race against time.
 White Paper pg xi
 White Paper pg xiii
 Protesting Policy pg3
 White Paper pg ix
 DHET. 2016. Funding the PSET sector and the feasibility of Fee-free higher education and training, submission to the Presidential Commission on Higher Education and Training.
 NSFAS. 2016. Annual report 2015/2016: Towards a student centred model
 White Paper pg vii
 Nene , Nhlanhla. Budget Speech. 2015
 White Paper pg vii
 White Paper pg vii
 White Paper pg vii
 This figure comes from the UCT Fees Booklet 2017, The breakdown is as follows. MBChB academic fee R 69560 (p. 7) for the academics, Health Science Students in self-catering residences will require an approximate amount of R24700 per year (p. 17) Books and Stationery R 7 000 Laptop R 7 000 Educational Equipment R 3 500 Living expenses, local transport, pocket money and sundries R 8 000 (p. 17) Single Room Clarinus (Health Science) R 52 300 (p. 132) http://www.students.uct.ac.za/usr/apply/handbooks/2017/fees2017.pdf
 White Paper pg xii
 These proposals and more have been summed up by S. Mpofu-Welsh 2017 in Democracy and Delusion. For a more detailed explanation see the White Paper 2012 and Student Protesting Policy 2017 documents.
 The average amount of wasteful expenditure in any given year in South Africa averages about R30bn.
 From a research document prepared by students called Protesting Policy. 2017.
 An article by the UCT VC Dr. Max Price https://www.news.uct.ac.za/article/-2017-04-23-assistance-is-available-to-help-prevent-suicide
Speak to one of our biblical counsellors. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
Speak to your Life Group Mentor.
Key Bible Passages for prayerful meditation
Matthew 6 v 25-27, 33.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Philippians 4 v 4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5 v 6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Psalms 27, 62, 121, 131
You might find one of these articles helpful on stress and anxiety:
Ekemini Uwan, Worry and Psalm 131. - https://www.raanetwork.org/pride-behind-anxiety-ps-131
Wrestling Anxiety in the campus arena by Bertha Chibale - http://jubileestudents.co.za/blog/view/15
Tim Lane, What is Worry? - https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-are-you-worried
Branden Henry, Self Care for the Suffering. - https://www.raanetwork.org/self-care-suffering/
Kristie Anyabwile, A Long Season of Tears. - http://thefrontporch.org/2016/02/a-long-season-of-tears/
Videos and Audio
Mazare Rogers – Spoken Word on working for Justice. - https://www.raanetwork.org/awake-spoken-word/
Eliza Huie – Dealing with Anxiety - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfafUvmcx8w&t=76s
Sermon by Timothy Keller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vduGmIISacQ&t=197s
David Powlison, “Peace, Be Still” - https://www.ccef.org/resources/individual_jbc_article/peace-be-still-learning-psalm-131-heart (to receive a hard copy of this article, contact email@example.com)
Here are some bible studies to encourage and challenge you:
Suffering with Hope by Kelly Kapic. https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/8847-suffering-with-hope/day/
Listening to God by Amy Groeschel https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1763-listening-to-god.
Curious faith by Logan Wolfram and David C Cook https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1926-curious-faith
Being P.R.A.Y.E.R.F.U.L. by Mike P. https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/2693-being-prayerful
Speak to your life group leader or one of our leaders after the evening service.
Message Ryan at 079 953 3516.
During protests campus can become a difficult space to be in. We have arranged to open up some homes of Jubilee members to be available for students when they need a safe and calm environment. Students are welcome to come alone, with a friend or as a Life Group.
Each Life Group will be given a home that can act as their “base”. Every lifegroup leader and mentor has the contact details of the Open Home Hosts, and you can also ask Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org. The lifegroup leaders have more information on how these Open Homes will work.
Tom and Nokwazi Moffat
Jess and Tristan Pringle
Ryan and Sachi Saville
Lower Campus & Kate and David’s Homebased Group
Jeremy and Michelle Hansen
Darryn and Charissa’s Homebased Group
Rochester & Forest Hill
Terence and Michelle Berry
Please contact Tom at email@example.com
Jubilee Community Church would be open to students from 10h00-14h00 daily. This would be a space to relax and unwind and there would be free WiFi available.
Here are some resources to help you understand the context and engage in discussions around campus from a Christian perspective:
See the "Understanding the Context" tab above
The Justice Conference SA: check out some interesting articles, talks and spoken word focused on the gospel’s role in transforming our culture and society http://www.thejusticeconference.co.za/conference_resources/?y=2017
There are a number of ways you can get involved:
1) Volunteer to be a Peace and Justice Witness. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Open up your home to accommodate students who need a space to unwind and get fed. Contact email@example.com
3) Join the protests, if it aligns with your convictions
See the "Our Response" tab above
If you have questions or concerns please feel free speak to any of the student team, the elders or email firstname.lastname@example.org