Free Higher Education on hold as Zuma releases Fees Commission report

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The rand breached R14.50 to the US dollar on Monday morning as news spread internationally of President Jacob Zuma's plan to push through free higher education, reported Fin24.

The commission recommended that the government pay particular attention to the Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges as they can not perform at their current funding levels.

"Should the student fail to reach the required income threshold, government bares the secondary liability", the report said. It is understood that government will therefore also be responsible for the shortfall should students not repay these loans.

The recommendation also included that government increase is spend on higher education to total at least one percent of GDP (gross domestic product) to bring it in line with countries with similar economies.

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The Herher Commission has recommended that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas), which now funds university students, be replaced by the income contingent loan system.

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, according to the report. It recommends that TVET students be given free education.

The commission further recommend that government considers the introduction of a university fee capping mechanism. Those cuts might include social grants for the most vulnerable and the budgets for housing, infrastructure and the armed forces, the newspaper said.

TimesLive reported last week that Zuma's plan defied all recommendations and findings which stated that South Africa can not afford to cover the cost of free education.

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However, the report cautioned that the state simply does not have the funds for free tertiary education across the board - and that doing so may not actually be in the best interests of South Africa's higher education sector.

The long-awaited fees report has finally been released. The Commission Report will be released to the public via The Presidency website and media platforms.

Zuma had been under fire for delaying the report.

The presidency said in a statement that Zuma would make an announcement on the report once ministers had processed its findings.

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

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