Blade withheld report on free university education - TechCentral

Blade withheld report on free university education

Blade Nzimande

Blade Nzimande

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande withheld for three years a report that found free university education was viable, the Mail & Guardian reported on Friday.

Nzimande received the study in December 2012 from a working group he appointed in 2010.

The group, chaired by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University vice-chancellor Derrick Swartz, investigated the best model for free tertiary education.

It proposed that the system would be similar to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), where applicants would have to prove they could not afford fees.

Salim Vally, a University of Johannesburg associate professor who was in the working group, told the newspaper he did not know why the report was not released to the public.

Department of higher education spokesman Khaye Nkwanyana reportedly said Nzimande sent the report to the treasury in 2012 to find out if they could fund the model.

Nkwanyana said treasury concluded it would be costly and would compromise on things like social grants.

He said the best option was to continue expanding NSFAS and that he could release the report at any time, when given the go-ahead, so that criticisms could be addressed.

The treasury said government had drastically increased funding to NFSAS.

On Friday, thousands of protesting students will descend on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to confront President Jacob Zuma.

They will wait for the president’s comments on the tuition fee hike debate that has gripped the country since last Wednesday.

The protest started when Wits University students protested against a proposed 10,5% fee hike. It then spread to campuses nationwide.

Police had used stun grenades to disperse large groups of protesters, most notably on Wednesday when students stormed the parliamentary precinct while finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was delivering his mid-term budget.  — News24

6 Comments

  1. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    Well, on this #FeesMustFall protest – Students scored 11/10 and government was humbled with a 0/10 score which they had to offer as an increase just to save face…

    …it is a real travesty that one should find themselves in the shackles of debt even before you have the job which you are studying for to be able to secure an income; but on this planet debt has become the accepted form of slavery.

    It would be great if young people who have graduated and are ready to start their careers, could do so on a debt free clean slate; and I do think that it is something that government ought to prioritize more than the hand-out of grants.

  2. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    Possibly… politics does tend to be the kind of game where you create the very problem for which you will be well placed to be the one who gets credited for the solution that is arrived at.

  3. What gives foreign students the right to demonstrate, disrupt, vandalize & demand reduced or no fees? I’m lead to understand from a Wits student that many demonstrators (& students generally) were non SA with study visa’s I assume. I certainly don’t mind my taxes helping SA students, but no way will I fund foreign students.

  4. Green advocator on

    If he had released the report in 2012 and the treasury had said YES to the option, how were the going to be able to funnel all that money to Nkandla?

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