Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Technology | By Russell Knight

SA doesn't have money for free higher education - Heher Commission

SA doesn't have money for free higher education - Heher Commission

President Jacob Zuma's populist free higher education plan, which will cost the country R40 billion, will plunge South Africa into an economic crisis.

"Through this cost-sharing model, the commission recommends that commercial banks issue government-guaranteed loans to the students that are payable by the student upon graduation and attainment of a specific income threshold", Zuma said in a statement.

"... 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.

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"Should the student fail to reach the required income threshold, government bears the secondary liability". The Mail & Guardian has confirmed that Morris Masutha - an ex-boyfriend of one of Zuma's daughters - came up with the proposal.

The rand dived to a 12-month low on Friday on reports President Jacob Zuma government was considering a range of budget cuts that could include slashing social grants for the most vulnerable in order to pay for free tertiary education.

Among the Commission's recommendations are that government looks into online learning as a solution.

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The commission also recommended that registration and application fees at universities and colleges be "scrapped across the board".

Presidency, Jeff Radebe, and the Presidential Fiscal Committee to process Heher's report in order to advise him on how to proceed further.

"I will make a pronouncement on the report once the ministers have concluded their work", he said.

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The report released Monday by Zuma said the commission recommended the government increase bloc funding to the Post School Education and Training Sector (PSET) as a whole in line with increased costs for providing quality education and infrastructure needs.

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