Zuma receives interim report on free higher education

The interim report though contains only 3 of the proposed 8 sections into which the commission had divided its work.

FILE: Demonstrating students hold up placards during protests over tertiary education fees in Pretoria. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has now received the interim report into the feasibility of free higher education.

Zuma established the commission in January, with the expectation that it completes its task within 8 months, however this was extended to June 2017.

The interim report contains only three of the proposed eight sections into which the commission had divided its work.

President Zuma has made the interim report into free higher education public, the commission says it received in excess of 200 written representations and more than 50 oral presentations from government departments, non-governmental organisations, universities and colleges.

The commission says while it’s not yet possible to arrive at a firm conclusion, there are certain areas that can be identified as common cause and favoured by the majority of participants.

This includes that the opportunity to pursue higher education is a constitutional right, and those who enjoy fee-free education should be seen as loan recipients with a reasonable obligation to pay back fees when a certain level of income is earned.

The commission says higher education and training is identified as a key priority in the National Development Plan, but has not arrived at a stage where it can identify and evaluate all sources of funding which might be made available for tuition fees.

It plans to interrogate proposals in depth in the next few months.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)