CAPE TOWN - The release of the Heher Commission Report on Feasibility of Fee-Free Higher Education released yesterday, has brought relief to universities' executives who will now get a go-ahead for next year's financial plans.
University of Cape Town's Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Max Price, last month, firmly appealed for the release of the report and said, "The failure to release the report also prevents stakeholders, including students and university Councils, from responding to the proposals on the sustainable funding of higher education in South Africa and, in particular, on ensuring access for all who can benefit from it".
He also claimed that its delay affects university's decision for 2018 plans.
Now that the report has been publicised, the university released a statement saying, "On face value, the executive is impressed with the thoroughness of the report. It appears that the matter was taken very seriously and that many inputs from academics have been included in the final report".
"The executive believes that the report needs serious consideration and will now study the details before commenting further," the statement concluded.
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology which has recently shown an immense unrest on the call for free education has also noted the release of the report.
CPUT's spokesperson, Lauren Kansley says, "The university is relieved, now the executives will apply their minds and be able to plan for next year".
University of Johannesburg media liaison officer, Herman Estherhuizen says at the moment the university cannot provide any comment on the report as the management has the responsibility to peruse the recommendations of the report.
NSFAS has also noted the release of the report.
"NSFAS will be studying the report in detail and make inputs to the Department of Higher Education and Training. We believe that NSFAS should continue to play a critical role in the funding of university and TVET students from poor and working-class backgrounds going forward as part of any new funding policy which government may decide".
Universities SA is concerned about why the report was delayed. Yesterday, President Jacob Zuma releases the Heher Commission Report which recommends that NSFAS should be replaced with Income-Contingency Loans for university students, where the regular amount to be paid by the borrowers will depend on their income.
The National Student Movement (NAMSO) feels that "the Fees Commission was simply a waste of time and taxpayers money since it did not produce any fruits".
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE