Nzimande: Free education for the poor

2012-06-28 16:02

Johannesburg - Free education for the poor should become a reality sooner rather than later, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Thursday.

Much had already been done to alleviate the financial strain higher education put on poorer students, he said in response to a memorandum by the SA Students' Congress (Sasco) demanding free education.

"Loans and bursaries administered by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) have been expanded substantially over the last three years."

Funding for loans and bursaries tripled from R2.3bn in 2008 to R6bn last year. An amount of R50m was also made available for post-graduate scholarships, and R63m for disabled students.

Sasco proposed that free education be funded by corporate tax, particularly derived from monopoly industries. It also wanted universities to stop withholding students' results if they could not afford to pay their fees.

Other demands included the disbanding of the council and management of the University of Free State, and for Nzimande to play a stronger role in the transformation of tertiary education institutions.

"We actually share Sasco's concerns relating to improving the living and learning environments for students at higher education and training institutions."

Tuition fees, however, were determined by university councils rather than the ministry of higher education.

He denied Sasco's assertion that the ministerial working group on free education was duplicating the work of the NSFAS review committee.

"Sasco is also welcome to invite the department's officials to your meetings, in order to assist you to develop a better understanding of my vision and objectives on post-school education and training," Nzimande said.

  • Wimpie.Haefele - 2012-06-28 16:10

    They can start by giving schools handbooks in January, and not only when a court orders them to do so and then they still can't make the deadline and blame other people of sabotage.

  • gerald.king.589 - 2012-06-28 16:13

    Think kids should prove themselves worthy first, which is the status quo. If you're compelling, you're compelling. If youre not then your work's cut out, free rides help nobody...

  • Gieljam - 2012-06-28 17:32

    Do we really need a Doctor, which costs the country a fortune in salary to tell us this? I think if all in Government and its beneficiaries take an immediate drop of 40% in salaries and pay it over to a well audited Dept of Education for immediate implementation it wont be a issue at all.

  • gwlok - 2012-06-28 19:30

    Education should be free for everyone. Why should those who pay for everyone else not also get the same benefits?

  • croix.mactee - 2012-06-28 21:32

    Define "EDUCATION".

  • Freddie - 2012-06-28 21:50

    When will the ANC realise that there can only be 'free' education when the builders build schools for 'free', the book suppliers supply books for 'free' and the teachers agree to work for 'free'? To achieve the last point, I suggest that the minister starts negotiating with the South African Democratic Teachers Union. Getting them to work for 'free' will be a good starting point.

  • Koos - 2012-06-29 02:22

    While the parents vote for incompetance the kids go without handbooks. ViVa democracy ViVa!!

  • Roger - 2012-07-03 22:50

    What is it worth to get nothing worthwhile for free? This so-called higher education minister cannot engage at the level required in higher education so he brings failed communistic ideas into the arena of school education, which is already a dismal failure. There is not really a money shortage for education, there is a leadership performance and delivery shortage. Taxpayer money wastage, yes. He simply attempts to divert attention from the catastrophic crisis in education which is a failure at all levels due to poor leadership and inept policy implementation. The ANC collective and its alliance partners, to which Nzimande of the SACP belongs, have failed the youth in a BIG way.It is shameful and unforgivable to use this rhetoric to suck up to the poor for their votes, when the government education leadership has failed them so shamelessly.

  • gail.hayesbean - 2012-10-06 07:36

    Dear Mr Nzimande, Will you as a so called servant of the public work for nothing? Why not? Well because you have to eat and drink water and have shelter and drive an expensive car that other people provide by farming, bringing sservices to you such as water and electricity. These people expect to be paid for what they do and God help us if we don't raise their salaries yearly way beyond the skill levels they possess. Educators have studied and paid for their education for many years particularly at foundation level and tertiary level and you want to pay them nothing - yes that is what you are saying here - there are millions of poor and already insufficient educators whom you uneducated two brain celled ideologists are paying a pittance while you live on the fat of taxpayers money. Now you want them to educate the poor for nothing? You can't even ensure that schoolchildren receive textbooks at the beginning of the year because you are allocating yourself bonuses and increases and perks! Get real you illiterate uneducated politician.

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