|23. October 2015
Zuma: Issue of free education will be followed up
There will be no increase of fees at universities across the country, President Jacob Zuma announced on Friday, following a week of national protests by students.
"On the matter at hand, we agreed that there will be a 0% increase of university fees in 2016," he said via a camera link from the Union Buildings. "In the long term there is a package of issues that was raised at the meeting that needs to be followed up. These include free education, institutional autonomy, racism, accommodation and what the students call black debt, to mention a few."
The announcement came after he concluded a meeting with vice-chancellors, chairpersons of university councils, presidents of student representative councils and representatives of student organisations nationally.
Zuma said he convened the meeting to discuss the "stalemate" over university fee increases and was briefed on issues of concern by the parties. "The meeting agreed that government needs to lead a process that goes wider than fees looking at the higher education sector." He said the presidential task team that was established to address funding mechanisms would be broadened to look at broader transformation issues in the sector.
It was agreed vice-chancellors would extend the exam period to make up for time lost. "Government understand the difficulties faced from poorer households and urges all affected to allow the process to unfold to find long-term solutions in order to ensure access to education by all students." He thanked everyone for the constructive manner in which the meeting was conducted. He believed it augured well for future engagements that would seek solutions in the best interests of the country.
(News 24, Cape Town)