ANCYL supports call for feefree education fund
CAPE TOWN — The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has called on the government to “work tirelessly” to ensure that free higher education becomes a reality.
The ANCYL was reacting to President Jacob Zuma’s release of the findings of the Heher Commission into the Feasibility of FeeFree Higher Education and Training on Monday.
Zuma received the report from the commission in August, but held on to it while rumours emerged that he planned to find R40 billion in the budget to fund free higher education next year.
“The ANCYL welcomes some recommendations as made to by the commission. Notable is the recommendation of establishing an education fund [to] which most institutions and individuals can contribute,” said ANCYL spokesperson Mondli Mkhize in a statement.
“We encourage that main players be both government and the private sector, which should contribute. The ANCYL calls on the government of the ANC to take proactive action in fasttracking these in the National Assembly,” said Mkhize.
The report also explicitly stated that free higher education in South Africa was not feasible, but the ANCYL said nothing about this.
The EFF rejected the Heher Commission’s report on the basis that it will create “class segregation”.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the Commission seemed to suggest that those who attended universities could afford higher education, while those who attended Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges were in the main poor. “It proposes an income contingent loan for those who cannot afford within universities, in particular, the missing middle,” reads a statement from Ndlozi.
“However, we know that already South Africans are overindebted, thus young people will simply transition from youth to adulthood in indebtedness.
“The Commission is, therefore, asking the country to simply position the responsibility on future taxpayers and it is not sustainable,” Ndlozi said.
Higher Education Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize meanwhile said the report “provides government with recommendations only. Decisions still have to be made by government. Government must have the space to conduct a thorough due diligence and to weigh up all aspects of the proposals.”
Mkhize said that debt, especially for poor students, was a concern of hers and had to be monitored closely.
“Having come from a very poor background as well, my belief is that education is the ladder of taking yourself out of poverty — and your family.
“So if you inherit a huge debt coming out of school, it might not help those who have sacrificed to put you through.”
Mkhize said that the release of the report would lead to healthy discussion on an informed basis, for a more sustainable way forward.
“••• already South Africans are overindebted, thus young people [with income contingent loans] will simply transition from youth to adulthood in indebtedness.”