Mkhize lays into He­her pro­pos­als

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - LOY­ISO SIDIMBA

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.

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