Thursday, June 11, 2009

No Free Tertiary Education For All in South Africa, Says Nzimande

CAPE TOWN 10 June 2009 Sapa


Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande on
Wednesday dismissed media reports that he had advocated free
tertiary education for all as a "deliberate misrepresentation" of
what he said.

Briefing the media at Parliament, Nzimande said he had in fact
suggested free first tertiary education for "poor students".

In this regard, it would be necessary to look at the critical
issues, such as "what is poor; who is poor", he said.

Free tertiary education for all was out of the question at the
moment and there was no reason why those who could afford to pay
should not do so.

It was necessary to focus on those students who genuinely could
not afford to pay or could afford only to pay a portion of the

The main vehicle to achieve government's goal of free first
tertiary education for poor students was the National Students'
Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), he said.

The scheme had to be reviewed to improve its reach, because many
people "fell through the gap".

The NSFAS's current income stipulations and cut-offs meant that
the majority of South Africa's working class was excluded because
of their income bands.

Therefore, even though they could really not afford to pay, or
could afford only to pay part of the high fees, they could not
benefit at all from the scheme, Nzimande said.

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