The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza, on Wednesday, called for the nationalization of higher education at the Fees commission in Pretoria.
Nzuzu explained that the government needs to take control of all higher education institutions management and administration in order to standardize education and curtail the costs of prestigious universities.
He stressed that free education ought to be considered an investment rather than expenditure, pleading for a fee-free higher education system that covers students’ tuition fees‚ accommodation‚ books, study material and traveling costs.
The ANCYL also made submissions at the fees commission. Therein, it argued that institutional autonomy is the first barrier to free higher education.
The ANC youth wing believes that leaving universities as independent higher educations, free to govern themselves, further entrenches the legacy of apartheid as it favours the wealthier students above the poor.
“Because institutions determine their own cost of study; those who can afford are able to go to certain institutions which are expensive, and those who can’t cannot access those institutions. The issue of institutional autonomy places value on the basis of prestige in qualifications,” it said.
The league told the commission that free education should be made available only to the poor and missing middle. It advocated that those who are able to pay for education shouldn’t pay the university directly but should submit tax returns to the SA Revenue Service who would administer the qualification for non-taxation.
If this is done, it believes that people will no longer defraud the system as they are currently doing to the National Students Financial Aid Scheme.
The ANCYL suggested that corporates should pay heavier taxes in order to fund free education and increase the fund pool for the government to sponsor students regardless of their university.
To be able to carry the financial weight of free education, the league proposed other measures like; increasing customs and excise duties on imported products and introducing a household tax.
Currently, an estimated 969 154 students are registered at the 26 public universities across the country.