Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Tertiary fee pledges a step towards free education

Neither the ANC nor the government has any time frame in mind for the implementation of the goal of free education up to the completion of undergraduate level reiterated by President Jacob Zuma during the party’s birthday celebrations in Polokwane last weekend.

Zuma announced two major initiatives seen as significant steps towards the overriding ANC policy of free education for all.

He said final-year university students who qualified for funding from the state’s National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) would receive loans equivalent to the full cost of study and these loans would be converted into bursaries for those who graduated at the end of the year. Also this year students at the further education and training (FET) colleges who qualify for financial aid will be exempt from paying fees, he said.

But ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu told the Mail & Guardian on Thursday: “We can’t mention a year when the entire education system will be free. When we get [to first-year level], the question to ask will be how to implement what the Freedom Charter envisaged, which is free and compulsory education.”

Qwebs Qonde, the acting director general of higher education and training, and Granville Whittle, the spokesperson for the basic education department, confirmed the commitment to reach free education for all, but said no time frames were in place.

“It is difficult to say at this point when all schools will be no-fee schools,” Whittle said. Sixty percent of state schools are now no-fee.

Stages in the move towards free education since 1994 include the 1996 Schools Act’s provision for exemption from school fees, national implementation of the no-fee schools policy in 2007 and NSFAS financing for study at FET colleges in the same year.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

State to subpoena and fact-check Agrizzi’s ‘illness’ claims

The National Prosecuting Authority will conduct its own probe into Angelo Agrizzi’s claims of ill health, after he failed to attend court again

UK puts army on standby as fuel pumps run dry

Desperate motorists queued up at fuel pumps across Britain, draining tanks, fraying tempers and prompting calls for the government to use emergency powers to give priority access to healthcare and other essential workers

Tigrayans are starving to death

The famine that was feared has come to pass, and aid just isn’t getting in

How to game Twitter’s algorithm – and hoodwink journalists

It is possible to convince newsrooms looking for a topical story that something is news when it isn’t, to dangerous effect
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×