ANC plans to sub­sidise poor stu­dents

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - TE­BOGO MONAMA

THE ANC want to roll out free higher ed­u­ca­tion from next year.

Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe yes­ter­day said that at the ANC’s lekgotla at the week­end it was agreed that from the 2018 aca­demic year, poor stu­dents would be sub­sidised when they en­tered higher ed­u­ca­tion.

There have been wide­spread protests at higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions since 2015, with stu­dents de­mand­ing free ed­u­ca­tion.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma set up the He­her Com­mis­sion to look into the fea­si­bil­ity of free higher ed­u­ca­tion as a re­sult of the protests. The com­mis­sion com­pleted its work last month, and has un­til Au­gust 31 to send the re­port to Zuma.

Man­tashe said that plans had to be put in place for next year.

“The He­her Com­mis­sion was ap­pointed to go through the is­sue. No child should be de­prived the right to devel­op­ment be­cause of the eco­nomic sta­tus of the fam­ily. That is what is driv­ing us. He­her will come with the re­port and we will look into it and take fur­ther de­ci­sions.”

‘Plans have to be put in place for next year’

Man­tashe an­nounced that fully sub­sidised grants should be pro­vided to aca­dem­i­cally qual­i­fy­ing poor stu­dents with a yearly com­bined house­hold in­come of R150 000 and be­low.

Stu­dents with an an­nual com­bined house­hold of be­tween R150 000 and R600 000 should be sub­sidised through a com­bi­na­tion of grants and in­come-con­tin­gent af­ford­able loans, with their fam­i­lies con­tribut­ing to a por­tion of their stud­ies.

“If we can in­tro­duce this for first-year stu­dents in 2018, we will be be­gin­ning to phase in fee-free ed­u­ca­tion in higher learn­ing. Stu­dents will be re­quired to main­tain ad­e­quate aca­demic per­for­mance, or be dis­qual­i­fied.”

He said it was up to the cab­i­net lekgotla – which will be held to­day – to come up with ways of im­ple­ment­ing the pol­icy.

If the pol­icy is in­tro­duced, it would be an ad­di­tion to the Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme and the Ikusasa Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme. Ikusasa was in­tro­duced as a pi­lot pro­ject this year to help fund “miss­ing mid­dle” stu­dents with house­hold in­comes of be­tween R122 000 and R600 000.

On mat­ters of the econ­omy, Man­tashe said the lekgotla en­dorsed Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba’s 14-point plan to res­cue the coun­try from re­ces­sion.

“The plan is in­tended to re­duce the gov­ern­ment’s in­ter­ven­tions and act as an ac­count­abil­ity mech­a­nism for de­liv­ery.

“We have no doubt that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this plan will go a long way in cre­at­ing cer­tainty and boost­ing con­fi­dence among stake­hold­ers.”

Among the points in the plan were the sale of non-core as­sets and par­tial pri­vati­sa­tion of state-owned en­ti­ties.

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