South Africa 'cannot afford to provide free higher education'

South Africa 'cannot afford to provide free higher education'

Among the findings of the Heher Commission was that there was now no capacity for the state to provide free tertiary education to all students in the country, opting for a multi-layered funding model.

According to a press report which appeared in the local Sunday Times newspaper titled, "How the Treasury Blocked Zuma", the publication claims that Zuma planned to announce free education in his parliament address but was stopped by the National Treasury. Subject to appropriate legislative amendments, the South Africa Revenue Service would collect the repayments through the income tax system.

Coovadia said on Monday that they had been awaiting the report to be released in order to move forward.

Heher, who led the investigation into the feasibility of free tertiary education, recommended that government amend the laws to allow for a R50bn cash injection from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to be ring-fenced for the infrastructure development of the TVET colleges.

The state can guarantee the loan or, better still, purchase the loan, so that the student becomes a debtor in its books.

Stipends are also to be made available through TVET colleges for needy students to cover full cost of study.

The Commission also recommends that application fees and registration fees should be scrapped.

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The commission has recommended that government find some affordable means of providing student accommodation, which has been another Fees Must Fall concern as many students have struggled to afford accommodation. It suggests the creation of an education fund to which companies, individuals, worldwide aid agencies, and others could donate towards the development of higher education.

It is recommended that students with debt, who have since graduated, be offered income-contingent loans (ICL) as well.

"The evidence before the Commission regarding technical education is clear: Successful economies place an emphasis on producing technically qualified, work oriented graduates in numbers which outweigh those of university graduates", the report states.

Zuma received the final report from the commission on August 30, 2017.

"The President waited for the Commission to conclude its business", the presidency said in a statement.

Produced for GroundUp by Notes from the House.

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