The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s announcement of free higher education for poor, working class students.
“The NYDA welcomes President Zuma’s response to the Heher Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training. This ground-breaking decision comes at a time wherein almost a million candidates sat for the matric final examinations, with no clear way forward about their future,” said the agency on Saturday.
President Zuma on Saturday announced the decision to extend fully subsidised free higher education to youth from well over 90% of South African households and to prioritise infrastructural development at universities and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.
“Free quality education is the single most important enabler to achieve our agenda of creating employment creators as opposed to more job seekers by use of education, skills development and entrepreneurship,” said NYDA chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni.
President Zuma said government will introduce fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working class South African undergraduate students, starting in 2018 with students in their first year of study at public universities.
This will be done in a phased-in approach over a period of five years.
The President also announced that there will be no tuition fee increment for students from households earning up to R600 000 a year during the 2018 academic year.
The NYDA said it will introduce a new programmes in 2018 to ensure that it responds to skills shortages and unemployment amongst youth.
“In light of the fourth industrial revolution, education and skills development are critical to grow our economy. This is the most progressive decision since the advent of democracy ensuring that young people remain key role players in the future of the South Africa,” said Mtsweni.
The subsidised full cost of study will include tuition fees, prescribed study material, meals, accommodation and/or transport.
President Zuma made this announcement after he released the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the feasibility of making higher education and training fee-free in South Africa in November.