President had no free education announcement planned

President had no free education announcement planned

Among the findings of the Heher Commission was that there was now no capacity for the state to provide free tertiary education to all students in the country, opting for a multi-layered funding model.

Jacob Zuma's highly anticipated Fees Commission report was released at midday, and shed some light on the economic future of students.

Demonstrations began in October 2015 at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand when students blocked the entrance to the university campus, following signs that the institution would raise fees by 10.5% for 2016.

Money should be poured into technical and vocational training, according to the Commission, known as the Heher Report, which was made public on Monday.

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

Although Zuma has said registration fees will be scrapped for university students, he has effectively declared that it will still be a personal investment to enroll in tertiary education.

The state can guarantee the loan or, better still, purchase the loan, so that the student becomes a debtor in its books.

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All undergraduate and postgraduate student fees should be funded through a cost-sharing model, in which commercial banks would issue government-guaranteed loans to students that are payable upon their graduation.

"The TEVT sector experienced budget cuts as a result of the protests, this affected the administration of colleges, but also the students directly as bursary allocations were reduced", states the report.

The commission has recommended that government find some affordable means of providing student accommodation, which has been another Fees Must Fall concern as many students have struggled to afford accommodation.

"'At no stage did he plan to make any announcements that would undermine the work of the commission" the presidency said.

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.

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

Students were planning a national day of action as their demands for Zuma to release the much-awaited Fees Commission Report intensified.

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