Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

#FeesCommissionReport free education for some

#FeesCommissionReport free education for some

"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.

By 11.15am, the rand spiked to R14.51 to the USA currency, a 16-month low after reports that Treasury official Michael Sachs, a deputy director general who headed up the budget office, quit last week after Zuma revealed his estimated R40-billion plan for free higher education.

South Africa's higher education budget has been a source of controvest after it was alleged that president Jacob Zuma would announce free higher education but was stopped by the Treasury.

The Heher commission said should government oppose its recommended model, it would then ask it to consider the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme, an income contingency loan funding model proposed by the ministerial task team on funding for poor, working-class and missing-middle students.

"Should the student fail to reach the required income threshold, government bares the secondary liability", the report said. Repayments, the commission suggested, will be collected via the South African Revenue Service. The state would either purchase these loans or guarantee their repayment.

If the loan is not repaid within a specified number of years the balance can be written off.

Bawa welcomed the report's recommendation that funding for higher education be increased to 1% of GDP.

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

There is now no capacity for the state to provide free tertiary education to all students in the country, the report has found.

The Presidency has denied this.

The president received it at the end of August.

The report, however, falls short of making higher education and training fee-free, raising fears that a new spate of student protest might erupt.

At the time, Zuma said he was studying and working on the report's contents and consulting the relevant ministers, excluding Nzimande, who was sacked by Zuma in his cabinet reshuffle in October.

"I have made a decision 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", Zuma said. This followed news reports that Sachs had complained over the presidential interference in the budget process.

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