Free education gets a push forward

A commission will soon begin investigating the feasibility of introducing free education at all institutions.

President addressing the nation after meeting with vice chancellors, chairs of councils and student representatives. Picture:EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says he wants to elevate his task team on higher education fees to a commission that will investigate the feasibility of introducing free education at all institutions.

The president says this year marks the first time that all sectors of South African society have accepted that education should be free and in the past this had been interpreted as only being an African National Congress policy.

Zuma spoke to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Sunday, saying now that everyone agrees on that basic principle, those involved in the process must investigate how it will be achieved.

"That process must tell us how far we can go to implement free education. What would be the time frames? What would be the cost?"

The president also says the ANC and government are seriously concerned about the 0.5 percent rise in the number of people who are unemployed.

He says the global economic meltdown has weakened the state's ability to create jobs.

"Each time we look at those figures, they are the figures that worry a great deal. We've tried our level best under the circumstances, to create the kind of projects in the economic activities that employ people."

Last month, Zuma announced a freeze on fee increases for next year.

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