Africa

South African universities say academic year is in peril

  • FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, students gather at the University of Cape Town as they protest for free education in Cape Town, South Africa.  Grievances over economic inequities are fueling unrest that has forced the closure of some of South Africa’s most prominent universities, with the government alleging a radical minority has brought campuses to a standstill over financing of higher education.  (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, FILE)

    FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, students gather at the University of Cape Town as they protest for free education in Cape Town, South Africa. Grievances over economic inequities are fueling unrest that has forced the closure of some of South Africa’s most prominent universities, with the government alleging a radical minority has brought campuses to a standstill over financing of higher education. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this file photo dated Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, students run for cover after police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse them during a protest, in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Grievances over economic inequities are fueling unrest that has forced the closure of some of South Africa’s most prominent universities, with the government alleging a radical minority has brought campuses to a standstill over financing of higher education. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, FILE)

    FILE - In this file photo dated Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, students run for cover after police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse them during a protest, in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Grievances over economic inequities are fueling unrest that has forced the closure of some of South Africa’s most prominent universities, with the government alleging a radical minority has brought campuses to a standstill over financing of higher education. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

South African protesters lob rocks at security guards at one of the continent's leading universities. Police fire rubber bullets at students on another campus. Vice-chancellors warn that students might not be able to finish the academic year if a national dispute over financing higher education is not resolved soon.

Twenty-two years after the end of white minority rule, grievances over economic inequities are fueling unrest that has forced the closure of some of South Africa's most prominent universities, which are struggling to cover costs. Opinion has splintered among students, faculty, parents and the government. The government acknowledges funding shortfalls but accuses a radical minority of disrupting classes.

The University of Witswatersrand and the University of Cape Town hope to resume the academic program on Monday. Some students are vehemently opposed.