The university recently announced that the decision has been made to continue and complete the first semester online, rather than resuming contact lectures. PDBY spoke to some students to hear their opinions on whether or not they believe, given this new form of online learning, the university should partially refund tuition.
Unathi Boloshe              2nd Year BCom

I do believe that students deserve some financial relief from their tuition fees as [it] can be a burden for some students. A refund could be better as none of us knew how long the current situation was going to take and could provide financial assistance to the students and parents/ guardians paying the fees. Yet the university is trying to allocate necessary resources, study materials etc. And from the information that I read on newsletters and emails from universities (particularly mine), they are limited because of finances. [Refunding tuition] could provide financial support to students and relief, yet I try to remember that universities are businesses in a way and in order to provide for students, they need more money.

Martin Hanekom             3rd Year BEng      Computer Engineering

The whole world is in turmoil, that much is certain, but very little is. In a matter of weeks, our whole lives have been flipped upside down, and even the simplest assumptions about normal, daily life is no longer applicable. I can understand that this puts the university in a very precarious position, and some tough choices will have to be made to keep on delivering world-class students, while keeping everyone safe. Fees are a contentious issue, as the university needs the money to function, but it is still unfair paying such hefty tuition fees for no tuition. Should the university manage to finish the academic year without great quality reduction, full tuition is in order, but if not, I propose that the university saves as much money as possible by switching off all non-essential functions, and only receive payments for the months that class will be available this year.

Theshmira Pather          2nd Year BVsc

I do not think there should be a refund. I can only speak for my faculty and with regards to Veterinary Science the lecturers and Dean are going out of their way to ensure that we receive a high quality of education and that the academic year is salvaged. We already have a very well thought out revised academic programme and the lecturers are easy to contact. There is even a boot camp planned over the July holidays to cover the practical aspect of our modules. The faculty has also been sending us frequent communication and kept us all in the loop every step of the way. […] Therefore, we are receiving the maximum level of education that we can, and I don’t think we need to deprive the university of our fees especially since they are spending funds to supply mass technology and free internet to those who don’t have. I am however also staying in the university residence and I do think they should pro rata the fees as we are not staying there or using any of the facilities.

Sinazo Sijovu                2nd Year BSocSci (Philosophy, Politics, Economics)

I would like to acknowledge the efforts that have been made by the university management, SRC, and student body leaders in making the health and safety of UP students their main priority, as well as their timely response in implementing feasible crisis-management solutions. Granted, online learning is not ideal for conducting our studies, but this guarantees that learning will proceed as normally as possible. Tuition covers the costs of our education, and the university has communicated that lecturers will continue making material available for students to learn from. Resources to aid the online learning process are being provided to students who need them, and a lot of work by our educators are still being done to offer us the same quality of education. Our tuition has not gone to waste, and does not need to be refunded as learning will continue to take place.

Images: Provided

BIANKE NEETHLING