Prof Mkhize cau­tions against hasty fees de­ci­sions

Afro Voice (National Edition) - - NEWS - SHONISANI TSHIKALANGE shonisani@the­

THE Min­is­ter of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, said govern­ment must be given space to weigh up all the as­pects of rec­om­men­da­tions in the fees com­mis­sion re­port.

Mkhize said she does not be­lieve the govern­ment’s de­ci­sion would harm the stu­dents.

“Govern­ment must have the space to con­duct thor­ough due dili­gence and to weigh up all as­pects of the pro­pos­als, in­clud­ing their pos­si­ble knock­on ef­fects, so that the Pres­i­dent can an­nounce a way for­ward that is able to en­sure we em­power fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of young peo­ple through knowl­edge and skills, thereby em­pow­er­ing their fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties too,” she said.

She said all should note that the re­port does not pro­nounce on any­thing as it does not con­tain any de­ci­sions but it pro­vides govern­ment with rec­om­men­da­tions only.

Mkhize said the de­ci­sion still has to be made by govern­ment but she will work closely with the In­ter­Min­is­te­rial Com­mit­tee on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Fund­ing and the Pres­i­den­tial Fis­cal Com­mit­tee tasked by the Pres­i­dent to process the re­port in de­tail.

“The re­lease of the re­port will pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for the aca­demic, stu­dent, and broader com­mu­ni­ties to study it and to fa­mil­iarise them­selves with the de­tail of Judge He­her’s find­ings, pro­pos­als, and al­ter­na­tive sce­nar­ios. This will en­sure that com­ment and dis­cus­sion can take place against an in­formed back­drop and not on the basis of spec­u­la­tion,” she said.

The long awaited re­port dis­missed the no­tion of free univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion and in­stead pro­posed that the na­tional stu­dent fi­nan­cial aid scheme (NSFAS) be re­placed by a cost shar­ing model,where com­mer­cial banks will is­sue govern­ment guar­an­teed loans to stu­dents which will be re­payable upon grad­u­a­tion and at­tain­ment of a spe­cific in­come thresh­old.

“The pol­icy de­ci­sions we make, hav­ing con­sid­ered the rec­om­men­da­tions in the re­port, must lead to sus­tain­able so­lu­tions that will en­dure for many years to come,” Mkhize said.

She urged stu­dent lead­ers and man­age­ment to en­sure a peace­ful end to the aca­demic year.

Mean­while, the South African Stu­dents Congress (Sasco) said the 2018 aca­demic year will not com­mence un­less free ed­u­ca­tion is de­clared.

“We won’t meet with any Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion to dis­cuss. They must tell us how are they go­ing to pro­vide Free Ed­u­ca­tion, not this bank thing. The in­struc­tion to our struc­tures is that the 2018 aca­demic year must not com­mence un­less there is free ed­u­ca­tion,” Sasco said

Sasco said the govern­ment must im­ple­ment first phase of free ed­u­ca­tion by 2018 through forc­ing the pri­vate sec­tor to con­trib­ute and in­creas­ing govern­ment al­lo­ca­tion to­wards ed­u­ca­tion and scrap­ing ap­pli­ca­tion and regis­tra­tion fees.

“We are per­plexed at rec­om­men­da­tion that stu­dents with his­tor­i­cal debt must be of­fered in­come con­tin­gent loans. This sen­tences stu­dents to a life of debt.

The 1% ex­pen­di­ture of GDP on higher ed­u­ca­tion pro­posal is sheer medi­ocrity,” Sasco said.


DUE DILI­GENCE: Min­is­ter of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize says govern­ment must weigh up all as­pects of the re­port.

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