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President Jacob Zuma says no student should be denied access to higher education and training in South Africa.

The President said this when he fielded oral questions in the National Assembly.

“Government is committed to ensure affordable higher education for all and to support poor and working class students to access higher education and training.

“Government supports that university fees should be regulated and be made available to all. No student should be denied access on the basis that their families are not able to afford fees. As government, we want all children from poor families to study at universities and TVET colleges,” he said.

The President had been asked if government has, with reference to the registration of university student in 2017, reached a consensus with students on whether there must be no tuition fees.

He said after consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including elected student leaders, government announced that all students at universities and TVET colleges from families with an income of up to R600 000 will experience a 0% fee increment.

“This includes the poor and the so-called missing middle, who are students from households who have an annual income of between R120 000 and R600 000.

“This follows the announcement of the Minister of Higher Education and Training [Blade Nzimande] on the 19th of August 2016 that the university fee increase for the 2017 academic year should be capped at 8 percent.

“No institution has announced a fee increment of more than 8%. Government will carry a fee increase through a gap funding grant on behalf of all poor working class and missing middle families,” he said.

Presidential Commission on fees releases interim report

Earlier this year, the President established a commission of inquiry to look into the feasibility of fee free higher education and training in South Africa.

He said he has since released the interim report.

“I released its interim report to the public. The report covers … the following areas: an overview by stakeholders of the terms of reference of the commission; post school education and training in South Africa and the funding of institutions of higher education and training and understanding their operational costs,” he said.

The President said the commission was yet to address five other areas, which include:

- The nature, accessibility and effectiveness of student funding by government;
- Private sector and foreign aid;
- The meaning and content of fee free higher education and training;
- Alternative sources of funding;

- Social economic and financial implications of fee free higher education and training and the extent of such a provision.

“The final report is expected on 30th June 2017,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za

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