The price of free education: community service for all graduates

2012-06-29 11:03

Free education up to undergraduate level may indeed become a reality in our lifetime.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande told reporters today that an implementation strategy will to be tabled at the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung for free education up to the first degree.

The strategy will include the modalities of such a policy.

“We rapidly increased the intake of students but the infrastructure has been left behind,” he said.

But free education will come at a price.

According to Nzimande a compulsory community service for all graduates has been approved by conference.

According to this all graduates who have finished studying have to do a year or two community service in their field of expertise.

But, warned Nzimande, there has to be measures that ensure graduates do not “only make tea and coffee” during their community service years.

Nzimande couldn’t say how much the expansion of free education will cost, but said that the expansion of university accommodation would cost R147 billion.

He said the government is reviewing the funding model for universities and the committee doing this, led by businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, will report back in October.

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