Southern African President, Jacob Zuma has announced that its government will provide free subsidized education to working class and poor students.
This was disclosed in a statement on Saturday, adding that the poor and working-class students will now refer to “currently enrolled TVET Colleges or university students from South African households with a combined annual income of up to R350 000” by the 2018 academic year.
“Having amended the definition of poor and working-class students, the government will now introduce fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working-class South African undergraduate students, starting in 2018 with students in their first year of study at our public universities,” Zuma said.
“Students categorised as poor and working class, under the new definition, will be funded and supported through government grants, not loans.”
According to report, Zuma announced that education was an apex priority for government’s pro-poor policies, and committed to increasing subsidies to universities from 0.68% to 1% of the GDP over the next five years, as recommended by the Higher Commission.
He said this was in line with comparable economies, in order to address the overall gross underfunding of the sector.
“This will be done in order to kick-start a skills revolution towards and in pursuit of the radical socio-economic transformation programme as outlined during the 2017 State of the Nation Address.
Zuma said that the provision of fully subsidised free education and training would be extended to all current and future poor and working class South African students at all public TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) colleges starting in 2018 and would be phased-in over a period of five years.
“All poor and working class South African students enrolled at public TVET Colleges will be funded through grants, not loans.
Zuma said the full cost of the study would include tuition fee, prescribed study material, meals, accommodation and/or transport.
He said the government would further invest in the training and development of existing TVET staff as well as the recruitment of additional qualified staff to improve the quality of teaching and learning at TVET Colleges.
“Funds will also be directed towards the improvement of infrastructure in the TVET sector,”