Heher Commission Report Reminds Us of Harsh Truths On Student Fees

Ruben Ruiz
November 15, 2017

It concludes that fee-free education is not possible, as did a report released by the Davis Tax Commission on Monday.

It did however make several recommendations on how to alleviate students' financial burdens.

The 753-page report, released by President Jacob Zuma on Monday, found that the cost-sharing model would be for students attending private and public universities and colleges, regardless of their background. As a result, the students that must be given priority are TVET students because they have a capacity to immediately feed into much-needed skills in the economy.

The rand slipped to a one-year low on Friday amid reports Zuma was preparing to introduce free higher education, which would put added pressure on public finances.

"... It is recommended that students with debt‚ who have since graduated‚ be offered income-contingent loans (ICL) as well".

However, we know that already South Africans are over-indebted, thus young people will simply transition from youth to adulthood in indebtedness. The numbers are that 1 in 8 children get to university, and 1 in 17 graduate.

Free university education for everyone was not an option. It is also based on the false assumption that it is a fixed variable which can not be changed.

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We, therefore, reject the recommendations as they will sustain a segregated student community where the poor, no matter how talented intellectually they are, will go to TVET colleges.

"We have not done any work on that and we can not move forward on this until we have an indication from [the] government on where it stands on the report", Coovadia said. It was also recommended that stipends be made available through TVET colleges for students in need to cover the full cost of their study. The point is to make education and training only about talent and comprehensive development of human resources and not about affordability.

The commission also recommended that government fund Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to the tune of a R50-billion cash injection, the funds for which would be diverted from surplus from the Unemployed Insurance Fund (UIF).

The report was released as the Studied in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII) released a report yesterday on their recent probe into the realisation of decent work in South Africa.

"We believe there is a lot of money in this country that can fund education". This is how nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy was justified. But we expected this from the commission.

The Sunday Times revealed Zuma wanted to institute free higher education as early as February this year but was stopped by shocked Treasury officials.

Other reports by GizPress

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