ANCYL sup­ports call for fee­free ed­u­ca­tion fund

The Witness - - NEWS -

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.”

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