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Concerns grow in university fee saga
Concerns about the next move in the university funding saga have been raised.
Belinda Bozzoli, shadow minister of higher education and training, points out that the Commission for Higher Education Funding’s statement that it would be up to President Jacob Zuma to set fees for 2017 is flawed.
“It eems to show a fundamental misunderstanding of the law governing universities, under which universities are largely autonomous organisations which are meant to set their own fees, while it is up to government to set subsidy levels,” she says in a statement. “It is particularly worrying that the statement was made by Judge Heher, chairperson of the commission.”
The DA has written to Judge Heher to request clarity on the legal reasoning for this statement.
“Though the statement does not appear to be a formal recommendation, it is nonetheless concerning and also appears to be a passing of the buck to the president while the nation waits for recommendations from the commission,” she states. “It is important that any findings of the commission are consistent with the law, and that the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder must be clear.
“The primary role of the state in the financing of universities is to provide adequate subsidies. Universities then set fees to cover the shortfall between expenses and state subsidies. The only role the state, let alone President Zuma, has in setting fees, is by providing adequate subsidies to prevent above inflation increases.”