Minister of Higher Education Hlengiwe Mkhize during a media briefing on subsidising free higher education. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ANA

Johannesburg - The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in KwaZulu Natal has congratulated the matric class of 2017 for their improved final examination results, and called on young people to report to institutions of higher learning to enrol for tertiary studies.

"The ANC Youth League congratulates the department of basic education in the province under the able leadership of Cde Mthandeni Dlungwane, former chairperson of the ANCYL in the province, for recording the highest improvement in the country which saw the result move up by 6,5% to 72,9% in 2017. "

They added that the results were an indication of the collective effort by the MEC, teachers, learners and other stakeholders who worked hard in ensuring that an enabling environment was created for the learners to thrive, though much still needed to be done. 

In a statement, the provincial youth league said: "The ANC Youth League salutes all those who sat to write their final grade 12 examinations irrespective of their results. We urge those who have not made it or those who wish to improve their marks to utilise the options made available by the Department of Education in this regard."

The Youth League said they would partner with the department of education in the province in order mobilise those young people who did not make it to enrol in the second chance program.  

"The ANC Youth League also calls upon those young people who did well to immediately report to an institution of higher learning of their choice to enrol for a course of their choice."

"It is worth mentioning that the ANC government will now be providing free education for the poor as announced by the President of the Republic of South Africa, Comrade Jacob Zuma," the league said.

The league called on young people from poor and working class background to heed the pro poor call and register at institutions of higher learning to change their lives for good.

Zuma made the announcement last month although it is yet unclear how free education for the poor will be financed. Higher Education Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize said on Thursday that free higher education in South Africa would not be implemented immediately but would form part of a new system that will be phased in over the next five years. 

Mkhize made the announcement with National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa (NSFAS) CEO Steven Zwane who said that this year, NSFAS would be moving from being a loan provider and into a bursary scheme.

Mkhize said the phasing in of the new system would allow treasury to formulate and implement a new budget plan.

NSFAS has increased the threshold from R122 000 to R350 000 from 2018, effectively, changing the definition of the "poor and working class" to include families who were previously sidelined.

Mkhize said walk-in applications have been discouraged following incidents at the University of Johannesburg in 2012.  At the time a woman died and at least 17 people were injured during a stampede.

But Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has encouraged everyone who is academically qualified to report for registration at their university of choice.

African News Agency/ANA