Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Police Vehicle Set on Fire Near South African University
Oct 25, 2016, 4:31 PM ET

Rioters in South Africa set a police vehicle on fire Tuesday and stoned vehicles near a Johannesburg university that has been the scene of sometimes violent protests by students demanding free education.

The violence broke out in streets near the University of the Witwatersrand at around the same time that student protesters met and marched off the campus, South African media reported.

It was not immediately clear who attacked the vehicles. In previous unrest, both students and non-students were arrested.

Also Tuesday, a South African official described the country's universities as inefficient, saying the student body of one million includes several hundred thousand who are performing poorly and languishing in the system.

Statistician-General Pali Lehohla's comments follow student demonstrations for free education that have swept many campuses in recent weeks.

The university system should have 600,000 students at most, but many more students are "treadmilling" and failing to graduate on time, Lehohla said. He attributed it largely to the fact that those students don't have the financial means to study well.

The statistician-general said free university education is impossible but recommended an education levy on graduates to alleviate the problem.

South Africa's government has recommended that universities raise fees for students by no more than 8 percent next year, but says it will cover the cost of fee increases for poor students. Protesters say the plan doesn't go far enough and have sought to disrupt classes on many campuses, though universities are pushing to complete the academic year.

No comments: