Zuma releases report on feasibility of free higher education in S



Claims that South African President Jacob Zuma was due to announce the introduction of free education in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered in February this year are false, his office said on Monday.Refuting the claims, the Presidency said: "The President never planned to make such an announcement".

The commission recommended that the government pay particular attention to the Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges as they can not perform at their current funding levels.

No student is obliged to repay a loan unless and until his or her income reaches a specified level.

The Commission recommended for the application and registration fees to be scrapped across the board.

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.

In October a leaked copy of the report revealed that free higher education was not feasible. The Commission further recommended that government pay particular attention to the Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges as they can not perform at their current funding levels.

The Presidency has denied this.

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The media earlier this week reported that Zuma was pushing for a plan by his future son-in-law Morris Masutha on free higher education to be adopted.

It includes fee-free education for all families earning less than R350,000; full cost of study (accommodation and boarding) for all students qualifying for grants at universities and technical and vocational education colleges; and an increase in the subsidy to universities to 1% of GDP. The delays in releasing the report have frustrated students and management of university institutions.

The rand, which weakened after the presidency said it would release the commission's findings at midday, was little changed after it was published.

"The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Higher Education Funding led by the Minister in the Presidency Mr Jeff Radebe‚ and the Presidential Fiscal Committee whose lead Minister is the Minister of Finance‚ Mr Malusi Gigaba‚ are processing the report‚" the presidency said.

At the time, Zuma said he was studying and working on the report's contents and consulting the relevant ministers, excluding Nzimande, who was sacked by Zuma in his cabinet reshuffle in October.

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

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