‘SA doesn’t have money for free higher ed­u­ca­tion’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — The He­her Com­mis­sion into the Fea­si­bil­ity of Fee-Free Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing has found that there is cur­rently no ca­pac­ity for the state to pro­vide free ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion to all stu­dents in the coun­try.

“. . . There is in­suf­fi­cient fi­nan­cial ca­pac­ity in the state to pro­vide to­tally free higher ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing to all who are un­able to fi­nance their own ed­u­ca­tion, let alone to all stu­dents, whether in need or not,” the ex­ec­u­tive sum­mary of the com­mis­sion’s re­port said.

Zuma re­leased the much an­tic­i­pated re­port at around 12:30 yes­ter­day.

The re­lease comes af­ter Zuma was re­port­edly pre­par­ing to an­nounce a plan to in­tro­duce feefree ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion, which Mor­ris Ma­sutha, the ap­par­ent ex-boyfriend of his daugh­ter, had al­legedly de­vised.

Zuma’s re­ported plan was to find R40bn within the con­strained bud­get to fund a free-ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy for fam­i­lies who earn less than R350 000.

The pres­i­dent said in his state­ment on Mon­day that the In­ter-Min­is­te­rial Com­mit­tee on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Fund­ing led by the Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency Jeff Radebe, and the Pres­i­den­tial Fis­cal Com­mit­tee, led by Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba, were “pro­cess­ing the re­port”.

“I will make a pro­nounce­ment on the re­port once the min­is­ters have con­cluded their work. I have de­cided to re­lease the re­port prior to the con­clu­sion of our work in pro­cess­ing it so that the pub­lic can have an op­por­tu­nity to study the re­port while we con­tinue with the pro­cess­ing thereof.”

The re­port rec­om­mended that un­der­grad­u­ate and post­grad­u­ate stu­dents study­ing at both pub­lic and pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges, re­gard­less of their fam­ily back­ground, should be funded through a cost­shar­ing model of govern­ment guar­an­teed “In­comeContin­gency Loans” sourced from com­mer­cial banks.

The com­mis­sion rec­om­mended that through the model, com­mer­cial banks is­sue govern­ment guar­an­teed loans to stu­dents.

This would mean stu­dents would have to pay upon grad­u­a­tion and at­tain­ment of a spe­cific in­come thresh­old.

How­ever, should the stu­dent fail to reach the re­quired in­come thresh­old, govern­ment bears the sec­ondary li­a­bil­ity.

The com­mis­sion has also rec­om­mended that the ex­ist­ing Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) model be re­placed with the new In­come Contin­gency Loan sys­tem.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, South Africa needed to im­prove its Tech­ni­cal Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing (TVET) sec­tor to ben­e­fit the econ­omy.

“TVET col­leges must be­come in­sti­tu­tions of first choice rather than the hold­ing po­si­tion of sec­ond-class cit­i­zens as is presently the case.”

The com­mis­sion has also rec­om­mended that TVET ed­u­ca­tion should be fee-free for all and that stipends be made avail­able, where needed, to cover the fully cost of study. — Sapa

Ja­cob Zuma

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