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‘University student funding a serious concern’

The Higher Education Department says only once a proper solution to funding university students is implemented will it be in a position to address the issue of historic debt.

FILE: Students made their way to the Union Buildings during the Fees Must Fall protest in 2015. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Higher Education Department says only once a proper solution to funding university students is implemented will it be in a position to address the issue of historic debt.

This was among the submissions made at the Fees Commission which is sitting in Centurion on Friday.

President Jacob Zuma established the commission to investigate the feasibility of free higher education following student demonstrations across the country.

The department's Diane Parker acknowledged funding is a serious concern.

“We know we need to find an effective solution for funding students who require financial support. And we need to find ways to improve funding to institutions. I don’t think there’s a doubt about that. How we manage that and how the policies that are put in place are still issues that have to be dealt with, and we really are hoping that this can be dealt with this year.”

She says only then can historic debt be dealt with.

“We do believe once that is settled and we have a system in place for proper funding, we’re going to address the issue of the debt in the system and create a policy on how we manage that.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)