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‘Education funding talks must include economic reality facing mining sector’

The Chamber of Mines says the mining sector is currently under serious financial strain.

Students arrive at the great hall for a meeting. Picture Clement Manyathela/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Chamber of Mines of South Africa says while it believes in the importance of private sector funding in higher education, discussions should remain mindful of economic realities.

The body says it's currently the largest private sector funder of training and development, and believes all role players have a responsibility to make a contribution.

Calls have been made during this year's Fees Must Fall protests for the private sector to play a bigger role in funding higher education.

The Chamber of Mines says it has spent more than R1.5 billion to fund students over a five-year period.

But it says it must be recognised that the mining sector is currently under serious financial strain.

Spokesperson Charmane Russell says, "The industry does take education and training very seriously, not only for its own employees but for community members and public at large. But, these discussions cannot be divorced from the economic reality facing the sector."