Manamela: Strides have been made in addressing tertiary education issues

Manamela addressed a range of issues as part of a panel discussion on free higher education in South Africa.

Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Buti Manamela in January 2018. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Bhuti Manamela on Wednesday said strides had been made to address tertiary funding challenges in the country.

Manamela addressed a range of issues as part of a panel discussion on free higher education in South Africa.

The platform was hosted by hosted by NPO Strategic Perspective on Transformation (SPoT) on Wednesday night.

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Manamela said: “Sometimes when an argument is made that we haven’t achieved free fee higher education in our country, we need to put it in the context that at least more than 700,000 of student who constitute the post-school education and training system, who would not have ordinarily have access to the education system now can walk into those institutions and study.”

Chairperson of the NSFAS board Ernest Khoza said mechanisms to improve the recovery of loads needed to be improved.

“The debt book of NSFAS stands at R36 billion, imagine if it was possible to collect as much as we can and plough back into the system.”

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The South African Union of Student's Palomino Jama said government had the means to the fix the financial woes of the so called "missing middle".

“Government created the missing middle. It’s government’s decision to cap the threshold at R350,000 but it is the same government that says households with R350,000 cannot afford higher education. Our opinion as students is that government mustn’t pretend as if missing middle is an imposed grouping of society but one that’s been created by government.”

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