Increasingly fabrications are becoming more and more vicious resulting in life threatening conditions and circumstances.

Last week, a rumour that only 1000 students would be paid their allowances, led to rampage rioting and in the process disarming a police officer from whom a gun and helmet were confiscated and displayed with great abandon and excitement.

This seemingly spontaneous riot spilled over to innocent motorists, passersby and individuals who had nothing to do with the situation at the university.

Most importantly too, many other students have been inconvenienced as undoubtedly response from law enforcement as well as university administration has been swift and harsh.

For some reason violence and disruption of the learning process appear as strategies of choice for grievances and unresolved issues between management and students.

This culture is also exhibited within the greater community where fabrications and outright lies are being manipulated for political purposes without considering the harm, destruction and disruption to life such manifestations wreck.

It has been suggested that what is happening in institutions of higher learning is an example of the impatience, intolerance and expectant mentality that pervades our civil society.

Indeed while students in South Africa must pay for their board lodging and tuition the opposite is true for our public universities.

There is hardly any riotous conduct in most private universities and colleges where parents must pay to keep their children in class.

In South Africa students are fighting for free education because they cannot afford the fees charged by most institutions of higher learning.

The South African government has promised to study the matter and provide support to the most vulnerable but has ruled out universal free education because it is not sustainable and if implemented would result in serious lowering of standards, services and academic excellence because public coffers would not fund both academic and social costs.

There are many lessons we should learn from this experience.

Education like health makes a huge call on public resources that is why not even the most developed prosperous countries have free education because quality of service depends on the ability to fund.

Little wonder therefore that the living conditions at most public universities are in deplorable condition because the universities often run on shoe string budgets from which they cannot afford to invest in quality.

There is urgent need for the government to seriously consider the loan scheme and relevant bonding mechanism to ensure that all those who benefit from government bursaries are made to repay the loans.

Destruction of public property is not the answer to whatever the provocation because violence through mob psychology will not achieve intended   may in fact be counter-productive.

Categorized | Editorial

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