The leaked Fees Commission Report indicates that a cost-free learning model at higher education institutions is not possible. It is clear that this commission was a waste of time and most likely a delaying tactic by the ANC government, at a great cost to the taxpayer.
This is an old trick used by the failing ANC as it is easier to move deadlines and change the conversation rather than addressing the root of the problem.
This money could have been better spent on poor students who continue to feel excluded from accessing quality higher education.
DASO is an organisation which represents all students, and our mandate demands that no student is left behind. It is therefore on this basis that we reject the leaked report.
President Zuma's government is detached from the everyday struggles of poor students and would rather play politics than find solutions to the student's welfare.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) and DASO support a full funding model which will allow free education for the poor and free cost of study subsidy at varying levels of the missing middle. Our model will see funding allocated within certain income brackets per family per annum.
As an example, families earning per annum between:
R0 - R200,000 will receive free full cost of study funding for qualifying students
R200,000 - R350,000 will receive 66% of the full cost of study funded
R350,000 - R500,00 will receive 33% of the full cost of study funded
In the immediate term, DASO will reject any rampant fee increments for the poor and missing middle. Fee increases by tertiary institutions to plug a funding shortfall will only serve to exclude poor students and set them up to fail. Yet tertiary institutions need financial assistance from the ANC government who have caused this crisis due to chronic underfunding of the sector.
NSFAS has been perennially grossly underfunded and this has meant that more students who qualify for funding are excluded. It, therefore, does not make sense to continue raising fees for students who are evidently struggling to pay the prevailing fees struggle.
DASO will continue with its programme of engaging with students at every university campus to ensure that their voices are heard and an acceptable solution is found to the funding crisis. We are organising students across the country to mobilise against the ANC government which will never solve the fees crisis.
The ANC has forgotten the students who deserve a better future. DASO will not forget nor will we stop fighting for the rights of students to ensure they have what they need to achieve their dreams and a better life.
Yusuf Cassim MP
DA Youth Federal Chairperson