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Dept of Higher Education explains what it envisages free education to be

The department presented its submission to the fees commission today.

A students holds up a poster at Wits University after the announcement of an 8% increase by Min of Higher Education Nzimande. Picture: Nina Leslie/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Higher Education says if the resources were available it would implement full funding of higher education for the poor, which would cover everything from tuition to accommodation costs.

This was among the department's submissions at the Commission of Inquiry into Free Higher Education which is sitting in Centurion today.

The department's Diane Parker told the commission what it envisages free education to be.

"The full implementation of free higher education for the poor would mean that we would provide upfront funding to all students who merited to cover their tuition, their food, their books and their accommodation. If there was sufficient funding, that would be fully implemented."

While Wits University has agreed to resume the academic programme on Monday, the University of the Western Cape has suspended all lectures due to the ongoing student protests.

At the same time, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology has sent its staff home.