Mkhize lays into Heher proposals
ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize yesterday criticised the recommendations of the fee-free higher education commission and committed the ruling party to the provision of free education at all levels for the poor.
Mkhize told students gathered at the Young Communists League’s national progressive black academic summit that recommendations of the commission chaired by Judge Jonathan Heher were “grossly inadequate”.
“The income contingent loans will create a disproportionate burden on poor students,” said the former KwaZulu-Natal premier.
Mkhize, who is one of seven ANC leaders running for party president at next month’s national conference, warned that income contingent loans recommended by Heher’s report would worsen inequality and posed a huge challenge for students.
“As it stands it (the commission’s report) does not provide answers,” he said.
According to Mkhize, the ANC remains committed to the provision of free education at all levels for students from poor households.
He said the #FeesMustFall protests exposed the inadequacies of the country’s education system particularly the National Students Financial Aid Scheme.
Mkhize described the inadequacies as “systemic”.
The education system was “condemning the majority of our people to a 30% chance of passing matric,” he said, referring to students whose parents did not complete schooling.
Mkhize said students whose parents completed school or were tertiary education graduates had an 84% chance of passing matric and receiving high incomes.
“Quality education will help people escape inter-generational poverty,” he said.
Mkhize said the government should look into its budgeting processes and reprioritise.
He said access to education should be unhindered by socioeconomic conditions.
“Education must be seen as a strategic investment,” said Mkhize.