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The Fees Commission Report makes it clear that the university sector is in dire straits: "The financial state of the university sector (before considering the demands for more affordable fees or free education) is not healthy and is unsustainable." (pg 79)

This right here is the real problem. Before we even stop to consider the #FeesMustFall protests and their demands for free education, we have to deal with this fact: our tertiary education system is broken, and not just financially. That column there does a good job of explaining it.

Anyway, if the Fees Commission report finds that the university sector is financially unhealthy and unsustainable, why has it taken this long for any appreciable action to be taken? And why did it take even longer for the Fees Commission to be made public? And what happens next?

All the Fees Commission Report has really done has created more questions than answers.

More Questions than Answers

And maybe that was the plan all along. Now we are forced to look to the Inter-Ministerial Committee and its findings based on the report, whenever those become public.

My biggest gripe with the Fees Commission has more to do with the timing of its release than anything else. The Report itself is upfront about the lack of money for fee-free higher education for all and spends most of its 700-plus pages offering up alternative solutions.

Nothing is going to happen instantly, we have to know that. But surely by now we should have answers? Or at least fewer questions.

For all the fanfare surrounding the release of the report, it doesn't really say much. Nothing held within its pages is concrete (not even wet, just-poured concrete) and now we have to settle down and start waiting again? Nuh-uh, count me out. This Fees Commission Report comes too late and, for the amount of time it took to be released, does too little.

Which, again, leaves me with just more questions as to why it was released and where we go from here.

Did I miss something? Have an opinion on the Fees Commission report, on the ICL-system, anything? Drop it in the comments below!


Column by Conor Engelbrecht

The views expressed herein are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of Portal Publishing.

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