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Business Unity SA reacts to Fees Commission report

The organisation is the latest to comment after President Jacob Zuma released the Heher Commission's report two days ago.

This undated file photo shows students during a protest. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Business Unity South Africa (Busa) says that the funding of higher education requires a careful balance between ensuring access to tertiary education with sustainable fiscal management.

The organisation is the latest to comment after President Jacob Zuma released the Heher Commission's report two days ago.

The commission found that free higher education for all is not viable and that other funding models will have to be explored.

Busa says that it is examining the report but has called on government to urgently consider it with social partners in Nedlac and develop an actionable plan that can address access to higher education within the current budgetary constraints.

Several universities have told Eyewitness News they are still studying the more than 700-page report.

Zuma will comment on the report once the ministers tasked with studying the document have concluded their work.

Higher Education Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize says that while her department welcomes the release of the fees report, officials still need to find a suitable solution to funding higher education in South Africa.

RECOMMENDATIONS

There are four key recommendations of the commission:

Funding for university students

The commission recommends that all undergraduate and postgraduate students studying at both public and private universities and colleges, regardless of their family background, be funded through a cost-sharing model of government guaranteed income-contingency loans sourced from commercial banks. It states that the existing NSFAS model should be replaced by a new income contingency loan system.

Student accommodation

The commission recommends that government adopt an affordable plan to develop more student accommodation and that historically disadvantaged institutions be prioritised.

Funding for TVET students

The Commission says that all students at technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges should receive fully subsidised free education in the form of grants that cover their full cost of study and that no student should be partially funded.

Registration fees

The commission recommends that application and registration fees be scrapped across the board.

Click here to read the full report.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)