Fee-free tertiary education has to be accelerated - committee

2015-10-25 16:05
(File: Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

(File: Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Parliament - While the 0% increase in university fees next year was an important first step, efforts to provide free education had to be fast-tracked, Parliament’s higher education and training committee said on Sunday.

“We welcome the short-term solution as announced by President [Jacob] Zuma and also acknowledge that for the medium- and long-term, work is continuing in order for a sustainable solution to be found,” said committee chairperson Yvonne Phosa.

The committee regarded Zuma’s announcement on Friday that fees would not increase next year as an “essential building block” towards implementing a policy on free higher education for poor and academically deserving students.

Phosa said providing free tertiary education was a process and not something accomplished overnight.

“It will be in the best interest of this country if this process is fast-tracked,” she said.

Zuma's announcement was preceded by a week of countrywide protests against rising university fees. It culminated in a march on the Union Buildings on Friday, which turned violent.

The #FeesMustFall campaign was sparked by protests against a 10.5% fee increase for 2016 by Wits University students last Wednesday.

The committee condemned those who “attempted to smuggle violence” into the campaign at the Union Buildings.

“We cannot have a situation whereby a peaceful and legitimate protest gets marred by the actions of a lawless few," Phosa said.

She condemned the police's use of excessive force at other protests.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  education  |  university fees  |  protests

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