Students across the Free State province have expressed their disappointment in the supposed Fees Commission 2017 report which stated that free higher education in the country would not be feasible.
SRC leader at the University of the Free State (UFS), Asive Dlanjwa, said while the authenticity of the report remains yet to be confirmed as the report has allegedly been leaked, he is dissatisfied in the contents thereof. It does not answer pertinent issues, which led to the inquiry in the first place.
“For the most part, it did not even question or do the work that we had all agreed it was supposed to do,” Dlanjwa said. The work he refers to is finding scenarios of possible funding models for free higher education as well as ways to implement these models. “It rather looks at current systems and improving those current systems. You would look at one of the mechanisms listed there and it’s called the Income Contingency Loan (ICL), which is really just like NSFAS,” Dlanjwa said.
His second criticism of the report, which is yet to be confirmed as official by the Presidency, is that the focus seems to be on funding for TVET colleges, while he argues that universities are found wanting in terms of these models.
“I think we are at that point where we have rejected it in its entirety. We expected that it would at the very least speak of the first phase of implementation for the poor but other than that, it is very disappointing. Of course, it has not yet been released yet but it makes one wonder what has happened to the many proposals that people had forwarded as to the viable options as far as free education is concerned. If the content we saw is anything to go by, it was a waste both time and money,” Dlanjwa added.
He further stated that the SRC is awaiting the official report’s release and will further engage on this following the release of the much-anticipated report.
Meanwhile, a cautious Gcinumoze, UFS’s Free Education Movement (FEM) leader, said they are still awaiting the official report and declined to comment on the current alleged leaked report. “I’d like to believe that the report that has been circulating is simply just portions of the full report and I’d much rather report on the full report rather than just portions thereof,” Gcinumoze said.
The spokesperson for the Presidency, Bongani Nqgulunga could neither be reached for comment on when the report will be released nor what the reasons for its delay are. Nqgulunga had also not yet responded to Bloemfontein Courant’s inquiries which were sent via SMS when this article went to print.
Since the news of the report delay on Monday, several student protests across the country broke out, however, Dlanjwa said the situation at UFS is still calm. SRC leader at the Central University of the Technology (CUT), Sinazo Hafula could also not be reached for comment.