Gordhan Provides Solution To Funding SA Higher Education


Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has deviced a solution that would help in funding SA Higher Education

The minister who was delivering his mid-term budget speech in Parliament announced what seems to be a magical way the state will be able to cough out money that would be used in funding SA Higher Education.

He said the state would need an additional R17.6 billion for the funding and that government will have to draw from the contingency reserve to make funds available from existing budgets.

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A portion of the resources to support university students will be found elsewhere from within the post-school education system, the minister noted in his address.

According to Gordhan also, the National Treasury has received “well thought through” technical proposals about a future funding model for universities.

“There have been five proposals on the fiscal side – some from academics, some from students and the private sector. And all these people realise the state has limited resources. But how can we compliment the limited resources? We’re looking at how we can combine the technical proposals in an atmosphere where we can find a shared solution,” Gordhan said.

Meanwhile, Minister Gordhan who at a media briefing ahead of the mini budget speech delivery, said government heard the concerns raised by the “post-school community”.

He said this while addressing group of protesting students. He said government was at its best to find a lasting solution to funding SA Higher Education but cautioned the students to “co-operation and stick to an agreement you make.”

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was joined by deputy Finance minister Mcebisi Jonas as he accepted a memorandum of demands from Fees Must Fall protesters before he went in to the parliament.

South African government is faced with the challenge of the increasing number of academically deserving students from poor communities, against the available funding and the issue of having no clear national framework for financing students who are above the modest threshold established by the NSFAS means test.

This has as a result led to many students facing severe financial hardships that had undermined their ability to succeed academically.

The minister however said citizens need to understand that allocations to post-school education and training will be the fastest growing element of the national budget in February next year.

“We’ve heard about the hardships the poor face, the uncertainty about entrance into institutions, and the worries about upfront registration fees and debt management. We hear you. We hear you clearly.

“But we’re also saying: there’s no room for violence. It doesn’t help this process. What we require now is for all sorts of initiatives from diverse sectors of society to bring solutions to the table.

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University subsidies will grow at an annual average rate of 10.9% over the next three years, while allocations to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) will be increased at 18.5% providing support to under-funded university students.

In the 2017 medium-expenditure framework, government will fund the increase in fees at higher learning institutions for the 2017 academic year, up to a maximum of 8% for students from households earning up to R600 000 per year,” Gordhan said, while top-ups will also be made to the Nsfas.