Pretoria – Government remains committed to ensuring quality and affordable education for all, says Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe.
The Minister said this on Thursday during a post-Cabinet media briefing held in Cape Town. He said government recognises the struggle that young people encounter as they try to educate themselves.
The Minister also said government’s long term vision for higher education will be informed by the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training (Fees Commission), which is currently sitting.
He said the Commission is expected to complete its work by 30 June 2017.
“We call on all stakeholders to give the Fees Commission a chance to complete its work. By working together we can find solutions that are both practical and sustainable,” said the Minister.
“Funding made available through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) now stands at R14 582 billion, and helps to ensure that poor hard working students can access education at all 26 public universities and 50 public Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges,” said the Minister.
He said Cabinet remains committed to a phased realisation of free education for the poor, within fiscal affordability.
The Minister said Cabinet is concerned at the resurgence of violent protests in some institutions of higher learning.
“The destruction of property is a crime that detracts from the legitimate issue… Cabinet calls on student leadership to join the call for the protection of valuable university infrastructure and resources which is part of the common national heritage of all South Africans,” he said.
According to the Minister, Cabinet has also congratulated the Department of Basic Education on winning the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisations (UNESCO) International Literacy award for its Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign.
Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign was introduced to reduce the national rate of illiteracy in South Africa, and has benefitted 4.7 million people in both rural and urban areas.
It is offered in the 11 official languages, including braille.