Nzimande: Free education only for the poor - As it happened

2015-11-04 15:01

Minister for Higher Education and Training Blade Nzminade has cancelled a trip to France to field questions in Parliament about the recent protests around university fees.


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Last Updated at 07:45
04 Nov 17:37

The question session in the National Assembly has concluded. 

Remaining questions, including those to Nzimande would receive written replies

04 Nov 17:32

The pressure on the TVET and CET sectors to grow and provide free education for the poor is even greater than on the university sector. "High level political decisions need to be made regarding the investment in the PSET sector generally- this investment is an investment in the youth and the country's future", the presentation states.

The department believes that both the TVET and CET sectors must not be ignored- these sectors are also significantly underfunded and must service an even greater number of youths and adults than universities.

The department says it has key budget pressures.

It is looking into ways in which effectiveness could be improved to reduce costs but meet the same objective. The department says that government's fiscal constraints make it difficult for it to attain growth requirements in terms of enrolments, infrastructure development (including student accommodation), increased operations and student support services.

04 Nov 17:31

The State currently provides on average 40% of university budgets, which is down from 70% fifteen years ago.

In 2011, SA's estimated higher education expenditure as a percentage of education (including NSFAS) was approximately 12%.

According to the presentation, this is significantly lower when compared to Africa at 20%, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries at 23.4%, and for the world at 19.8% in 2006.

04 Nov 17:28

The Polokwane resolution in 2009, set the political expectation that students from poor and working class families should enjoy free higher education, and this was reaffirmed by the NDP.

According to the presentation, this resolution "posed a significant risk to the higher education sector, and the possibility for further disruption/violence is high. Institutions are vulnerable and their sustainability is at risk".

04 Nov 17:06

The National Development Plan provided "ambitious" targets for higher education sector: 1 620 000 enrolments set for 2030 as well as all students who qualify for the NSFAS should be fully funded with tuition, accommodation, food and books through loans and bursaries.

But according to the presentation, available appropriated funds are insufficient to support all qualifying students at the full cost of study.

This is despite significant increases in the NSFAS allocation from government, from R1.7bn in the 2009 academic year to R6.6bn in 2016/17. If the NDP targets are to be met, significant additional funding will be required.

04 Nov 17:05

In the presentation NSFAS came under the spotlight.

Figures were provided on the number of students who applied for funding this year and those who were successful. 256 329 students applied this year and 141 010 were successful.

The number of unfunded registered students (who qualified but were not assisted) was given as 38 984. A footnote was given at the bottom of this table and marked as NB (important) to say that figures for this year were not final and may be a significant undercount.

04 Nov 17:02

The presentation by Gwebs Qonde earlier looked at the longer term university funding implications of the 0% fee increase next year.

According to the presentation the baseline for university funding must be increased by a minimum of R2.4bn in 2017 to offset the 0% increase in 2016, and maintain the current student population and programmes offered by institutions. 

To ensure that fees do not increase at a rate higher than inflation in the future, the base line subsidy funding each year will have to increase in line with higher education inflation (on average 9.8% per annum).

If funding for the baseline does not materialise, then growth of the system must be reduced - with dire consequences, particularly given the growing number of youth from basic education to meet university entrance requirements.

04 Nov 16:51

The presentation looked at university funding implications for next year's no fee increase.

Based on actual figures from universities, the shortfall in 2016 due to the no fee increase is R2.330bn.

This is made up of a tuition fee increment of R1.915 billion and a residence fee increment of R415 million.

After consultation with all parties, it was agreed that the shortfall for 2016 will be shared with universities and government. Universities will contribute R394.7million. The department in consultation with the National Treasury will secure the remaining R1.935bn.

04 Nov 16:44

According to this morning's presentation the number of matric pupils estimated to qualify academically for university will increase from 172,000 in 2013 to about 250,000 by 2019, increasing pressure on universities to expand.

This constitutes approximately 30% of National Senior Certificate students each year.

The remaining school leaving students (70%) must be catered for through other opportunities, such as TVET and CET colleges and skill development opportunities.

The system currently caters for approximately 1 million university students, 720 000 TVET college students and 330 000 CET college students.

04 Nov 16:42

The presentation this morning had to do with the funding of: university education, technical and vocational education and training, community education and training, and the higher education and training department

It also looked at post-school education and training. On this aspect it referred to the white paper for post-school education and training. This paper sets a target of 1.6 million students in universities, 2.5 million in TVET colleges and 1 million in CET colleges by 2030.

04 Nov 16:41
The session has moved to questions for other ministers. Nzimande will answer the other questions posed to him later over the course of the afternoon

04 Nov 16:36
Nzimande said: "Let me just correct it now. It is not free higher education for everyone. It is free higher education for the poor until at least attainment of first tertiary qualification. Don’t twist it now.... Free higher education for the poor is an ANC position and has always been an ANC position."

04 Nov 16:35

Nzimande replied that he did address this matter -- that we have sat with this R122 000, and it is being reviewed.

"But also we warned that reviewing that in the end will have to be a collective decision of government, lead by the minister of finance."

He said that if there was a shift on family income, it would have "implications within the context of pressures we experience... We have undertaken a review". 

04 Nov 16:31

The EFF had asked that Nzimande said earlier this morning that the threshold was around R120000 per year and while knowing the state of SA, which has been growing poorly, did he think this definition was appropriate to access higher education. 

"When will South Africans see a fee free higher education? 

04 Nov 16:27

Nzimande - "We have agreed with the university community that we will have to look very closely at the cost drivers of higher education..

"One of the issues raised by the current student protest require that institutions themselves look very closely at how they use their money. 

"The money we give to universities - how is it being used to advance an agenda for transformation?"

04 Nov 16:21
Presentation also said the NSFAS threshold is currently R122000 family income per annum and is under review.

04 Nov 16:20

Director General of Higher Education and Training, Gwebinkundla (Gwebs) Qonde, gave the presentation to the standing committee on appropriations earlier in the day.

He referred to a table that shows what is required to fully fund 25.5% of the undergraduate population. The table was entitled: Adequate NSFAS funding for the poor.

It amounted to R36.982bn over the medium term expenditure framework. This was based on the full cost of study of R73,786 per annum in 2016, escalating at an average of 9.8% per annum.

04 Nov 16:18

EFF's Mbuyeseni Ndlozi says "Bra Blade" must withdraw his comments to an EFF MP that stood up with a question. 

"Please call him to order. He must withdraw the threat saying 'you know where we will meet'," Ndlozi said

Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli told Ndlozi to behave, and to withdraw the "bra" comment. 

Ndlozi said calling someone a "bra" was a sign of respect.

04 Nov 16:02

Nzimande says the question she is asking was asked this morning in the meeting of the committees.

He says the DA was grandstanding and opportunistic.

"Government does not have a single focus or priority. This morning we had a much more sensible discussion than this posturing now by the DA."

04 Nov 16:01
Bozzoli asks why Nzimande has not asked for funds to be reassigned, from money spent for "frivolous" items like expensive cars for ministers?

04 Nov 16:00

Nzimande says it is unacceptable for Bozzoli not to check his diary and issue a statement to say he is not going to answer questions.

"I am not scared to confront the DA on any matter that relates to the department..." he says

04 Nov 15:58

To ensure an appropriately funded higher education sector, in terms of international comparable benchmark funding levels, an additional R19.7bn per annum is required in the baseline for university subsidies (excluding NSFAS) with an annual increment for inflation and enrolment growth to meet the National Development Plan targets,  Nzimande says. 

04 Nov 15:54
Nzimande now up. He is answering Bozzoli's first question

04 Nov 15:51

The third question for Nzimande would come from Mr C D Kekana from the ANC who is asking:  

(1) How will the establishment of the two new universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga increase the capacity and efficiency of the 23 existing universities to deal with the increased number of qualifying students enrolling at tertiary institutions;

(2) Whether there is a correlation between the increase in the number of qualifying post-matric students and the overcrowding experienced by the existing inadequate infrastructure like residences in the 23 existing universities;

(3) Whether the Government intends to establish additional two new universities in the longer term; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? 

04 Nov 15:26

Prof C T Msimang of the IFP has the next scheduled question for Nzimande. It reads:

"What are the full details of additional plans that his department has in place to assist university students with study loans since the National Student Financial Aid Scheme appears to be patently unsustainable?"

04 Nov 15:24

His first question is from Prof B Bozzoli of the Democratic Alliance. It reads:

"What additional amount does his department require to provide sufficient (a) subsidies to universities and, (b) funding to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in order to ensure that, without negatively affecting the quality of education, there are no further fee increases in the next two financial years and there is fee-free university education for all students who qualify for financial assistance under the NSFAS at universities?"

04 Nov 15:22
Nzimande is due to answer seven questions today, and his first question is third on the Questions List on today's roll.

04 Nov 15:21
In today's question and answer session in Parliament, various Ministers from various departments will field questions on their relevant portfolios, including Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

04 Nov 15:08

Nkwanyana labelled the DA’s statements as “lies” and “opportunism” in an attempt to mislead the public.

“The minister doesn’t run from questions,” Nkwanyana said.

04 Nov 15:08
Nkwanyana said the minister offered his apologies to Unesco after the DA had placed pressure on Nzimande to address the issue.

04 Nov 15:01

Nzimande’s calendar originally said he would be in Paris attending a Unesco conference, reported Netwerk24.

The ministers though will now attend a sitting of the National Assembly to answer questions, a responsibility he usually fulfills, his spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana said.

04 Nov 15:01
Minister for Higher Education and Training Blade Nzminade has cancelled a trip to France to field questions in Parliament about the recent #FeesMustFall protests.

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