Fees won’t fall, cost share more fea­si­ble

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE -

A RE­PORT of the com­mis­sion which looked into the fea­si­bil­ity of mak­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion free in South Africa, re­leased by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, found that the gov­ern­ment alone would not be able to foot the size­able bill for such a re­al­ity.

The re­port by the com­mis­sion, chaired by Jus­tice Jonathan He­her, is in favour of a cost-shar­ing model that in­cludes both gov­ern­ment and banks.

“The com­mis­sion rec­om­mends that all un­der­grad­u­ate and post­grad­u­ate stu­dents study­ing at both pub­lic and pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges, re­gard­less of their fam­ily back­ground, be funded through a cost-shar­ing model of gov­ern­ment guar­an­teed in­come-contingency loans sourced from com­mer­cial banks,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port’s rec­om­men­da­tions.

“Through this cost-shar­ing model, the com­mis­sion rec­om­mends that com­mer­cial banks is­sue gov­ern­ment guar­an­teed loans to the stu­dents that are payable by the stu­dent upon grad­u­a­tion and at­tain­ment of a spe­cific in­come thresh­old. Should the stu­dent fail to reach the re­quired in­come thresh­old, the gov­ern­ment bears the sec­ondary li­a­bil­ity.”

The com­mis­sion also rec­om­mended that regis­tra­tion and ap­pli­ca­tion fees at uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges be “scrapped across the board”. Fund­ing for post­grad­u­ate stu­dents should be funded through the Na­tional Re­search Foun­da­tion(NRF) fund, based on NRF cri­te­ria and merit.

“The com­mis­sion fur­ther rec­om­mended for post­grad­u­ate stu­dents to have ac­cess to a cost-shar­ing model of gov­ern­ment guar­an­teed in­come-contingency loans sourced from com­mer­cial banks (ICL). The rec­om­men­da­tion also in­cluded that gov­ern­ment in­crease its spend on higher ed­u­ca­tion to a to­tal of at least 1% of GDP to bring it in line with coun­tries with sim­i­lar economies.

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