Bishops in South Africa Call upon Private Sector to Increase Support to Make Education Affordable
SACBC || By Bishop William Slattery || 27 September 2016
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, SACBC, has noted the interim arrangements announced by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr B E Nzimande, on the affordability of university education.
Minister Nzimande announced that universities and colleges should not increase their fees by no more than 8% in 2017. He further said there would be no increase for students with loans from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
He also announced that the government will subsidise those with a household incomes of up to R600000 per annum, so that there would be no fee increased in the year 2017.
We hope that the Presidential Commission of Enquiry into Higher Education will come with a realistic plan of making it possible for the poor and working class families to have access to higher education after the year 2017.
Whilst the interim measures by government provide no lasting solution to the funding model for our education system, we call for special attention to be given to poor students who’re unable or struggling to even pay for their fees presently.
We appreciate the sentiment of Minister Nzimande that: “We cannot subsidize the child of a cleaner or unemployed person in the same way as we subsidise the child of an advocate, doctor or investment banker”. The reality is that there are those who will need total subsidy from government.
We acknowledge that the interim measures by government will not be welcomed by everyone and call for open and honest dialogue amongst all stakeholders to find a way forward.
We condemn the escalation of campus violence and vandalism which is destroying the assets invested to educate future leaders for the whole nation.
The violence we are witnessing will bring more harm to our nation than good. We call for greater ethical leadership from all stakeholders, including those dealing with law and order.
We call upon the private sector to look into other ways of increasing their financial support to make education affordable to the poor and working class families.
Issued at Khanya House: 27/09/2016
For More information contact: Bishop William Slattery: 0124602055