Presidency denies Zuma was going to announce free higher education

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

Presidency denies Zuma was going to announce free higher education

Despite not being directly involved in the protests, TVET students still experienced underfunding which rested at R4.7 billion in 2016 and budget cuts. More than 1 000 students gathered at the Jameson Plaza to discuss issues of free education.

Heher, who led the investigation into the feasibility of free tertiary education, recommended that government amend the laws to allow for a R50bn cash injection from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to be ring-fenced for the infrastructure development of the TVET colleges.

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.

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance says President Jacob Zuma needs to clarify if the Heher Commission report on the funding of higher education will form the basis of his government's policy going forward.

What is an ICL student repayment?

On registration fees, the commission recommended that application and registration fees be scrapped across the board. Part of the 12-point plan makes allowances for income thresholds - so if a graduate isn't making a certain amount of money when they find employment, they won't have to start their loan repayments.

Collection and recovery of the loan will be undertaken by SARS through its normal processes.

Instead, the Commission recommends state-guaranteed loans for university students, to be paid back only when a graduate reaches an acceptable salary level.

"The Commission recommended that Government must further investigate the viability of online and blended learning as an alternative in addressing the funding and capacity challenges facing the current higher education and training sector", the report states. "If the loan is not repaid within a specified number of years, the balance can be written off".

The Commission recommended that government adopt an affordable plan to develop more student accommodation and that Historically Disadvantaged Institutions be prioritised.

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

It perhaps not the result our university pupils were hoping for. They might have to call this a draw.

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