Monday, 20 November, 2017

Zuma must clarify if Fees report will be implemented

President Jacob Zuma addressing the media at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Services Prison during the 40th anniversary of the death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko 12 September 2017 Pretoria Zuma must clarify if Fees report will be implemented
Nellie Chapman | 13 November, 2017, 18:24

Universities will not be receiving free education but the report recommends that TVET college education should be fee free in the form of grants and that "no student be partially funded" at these schools.

Zuma on Monday finally released the anticipated 752-page report, saying his office is still working through its recommendations in formulating a plan for the sector.

The report says evidence from other countries shows economic benefits when the emphasis of higher education is on "producing technically qualified, work-oriented "graduates" in numbers which outweigh those of university graduates".

Through this cost-sharing model, commercial banks should issue government guaranteed loans to the students that are payable by the student upon graduation and attainment of a specific income threshold, according to the report.

It followed nationwide protests by students using the hashtag #FessMustFall.

South Africa's High Court reinstated the 783 charges previous year and the Supreme Court upheld that decision in October, rejecting an appeal by Zuma.

The Heher Commission would like to see TVET colleges becoming the "institutions of first choice", providing graduates who are ready for the workplace.

The commission report however points out that their model would use SARS for collections and also recommends that R42-billion in long unclaimed pension funds be use as backup funding for the state's liability. TVET colleges have been regarded as the second-class option for students, and been stigmatised for providing an education that will retain existing inequalities in South African society. They are also planning to increase student accommodation, in a programme which would prioritise 'historically disadvantaged students'. "At no stage did he plan to make any announcements that would undermine the work of the Commission".

To implement this model, the commission recommended that the existing National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) model be replaced by the new income contingency loan system.

Judge Jonathan Heher handed over the report to the President on 30 August 2017.

The Presidency released the report - which was commissioned in January 2016 following the initial bout of Fees Must Fall protests - on Monday.

Produced for GroundUp by Notes from the House.