Cash-rich students not doing it by the book
The South African Union for Students (Saus) says with cash in their hands, students have now found “alternative” options to secure textbooks.
The statement by Saus comes after the South Africa Booksellers Association (Saba) raised serious concerns over the radical decline of academic textbook sales since the National Student Finance Aid Scheme (NSFAS) change from ring-fencing its allowances to paying students in cash.
Earlier this year, NSFAS announced that the scheme would pay allowances directly to students’ bank accounts instead of the voucher system.
The vouchers were limited to a certain stores, such as Van Schaik, a student bookstore.
Saba believes there was reason to be concerned about the declining sales of textbooks.
But students are saying there is nothing to be concerned about.
Van Schaik Bookstores managing director Stephan Erasmus said their stores, which supplies academic textbooks through its 63 stores, noted a 31% decline in textbook purchases when compared to the same period last year. “We have to question the implications of students not buying textbooks in the context of pass rates and drop-out rates.”
Saus’s spokesperson Thabo Shingange said students could now buy second-hand books and this would save money.