AfriForum is of the opinion that the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, and the ANC’s drive for free higher education is nothing more than politicking. AfriForum believes that free higher education is doomed to failure.
This statement follows Gigaba’s announcement in his budget speech that from a total of R324 billion provided for higher education and training, the allocation for phased in fee-free higher education amounts to R57 billion over the next three years, of which R12,4 billion will go towards needy first year students in 2018/2019.
“Government argues that free higher education is aimed at providing poor people with the opportunity to go to university. This while a mere 5% of poor people obtain university exemption as a result of the poor standards of South African schools,” says Monique Taute, National Spokesperson for AfriForum.
Taute also says that the fact that 63% of students who are assisted by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) drop out of university within five years is proof that free higher education is set up to fail. Only 8% of people in South Africa who have a higher education have obtained it within six years. “Now imagine the results if free universities and colleges would realise,” says Taute.
“AfriForum is if the opinion that the money can be better spent by addressing the school system. If 80% of our schools had not been dysfunctional, it could have helped to drastically decrease the unacceptable drop-out figures at universities and colleges,” she concludes.