News24

Education minister furious over report

2010-03-07 19:05

Johannesburg -  Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande on Sunday strongly condemned a newspaper's publishing of a confidential government report.

The minister "denounced the publication by the Sunday Independent of a document that has not yet been finalised or released to the public", his department said in a statement.

The report reviews the national student financial aid scheme and was presented to Cabinet two weeks ago, the department said. It was only due to be made public on March 16.

"After an extensive process of public consultation, the response of the minister and his recommendations will be presented to Cabinet later this year for adoption," it said.

Professor Marcus Balintulo chaired the review panel, the newspaper reported.

Its recommendations include free tertiary education for poor students and the scrapping of race as tool to identify financial need.

If accepted, it could answer some of the demands of the South African Students' Congress (Sasco), the newspaper reported.

In the past week, Sasco attempted to shut down nine major university campuses in protest against high university fees and the exclusion of students who fail to pay study fees as well as demands for free education.