Universities worried about implementing free education

Universities worried about implementing free education

Public universities in South Africa are still grappling with the implementation of free higher education in 2018, as announced by President Jacob Zuma last year. 


Universities South Africa's CEO Professor, Ahmed Bawa, says universities are worried. 

"The big challenge for us is that we have only had two or three weeks to try and place a system to manage this. So we are in fact worried about the fact that there will be many students who feel they now qualify for financial aid but didn't previously. And the fact that they will now come into the system," says Bawa. 

Bawa says after a meeting with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), an agreement was reached to allow students who will be applying because of the free education announcement, should submit their applications to the DHET's central Applications Clearing House (CACH). This is to ensure that students who qualify are not prevented from studying. 

He says the number of intakes at all 26 universities in the country will not change in 2018. 

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"The total intake into universities in 2018, is going to be about 208 000 and that's a figure that comes out of five year enrolment plans. It really indicates the capacity universities have to take in additional students. That figure won't change as it was negotiated between each university and the DHET," says Bawa. 

He also says universities will not allow any walk-ins to avoid stampedes, following the death of a mother and many injuries at the University of Johannesburg in 2012. 

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