CEO Ronen Aires Says Free Education is not Something the Country Could Afford Overnight


Most students want major changes in the university sector at the same speed as social media updates, according to youth marketing company Student Village.

“They are into immediate gratification and while, to some extent it works, for a great change of big systems, it requires a longer-term effort,” CEO Ronen Aires told News24 on Tuesday.

“Great revolutions in life didn’t come overnight. It is years and years of fighting for a cause.”

He said incremental successes were achievable.

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Free education was not something the country could afford overnight, he said, but rather a long-term lobby.

There had been nationwide calls for students to shut down universities following the announcement by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on Monday that institutions would be able to determine their fee increment for 2017. These could however not exceed 8%.

Aires said he hoped campus bodies were more united in what they wanted and were less political.

“I want more dialogue between the parties and unification on all levels.”

He did not want a “fight for the sake of a fight”.

While there was prestige around a degree, it was also sobering for many students when they realised it was not always enough.

“Some are studying degrees with no jobs on the other end.”

Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges played a huge role here.

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