Free Education: Institutions working together to apply new policy – Committee

Connie September takes issue with short period in which training institutions had to respond to changes

Committee on Higher Education and Training notes efforts institutions and dept are making in registration process, says chair

16 January 2018

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training, Ms Connie September, has welcomed extra efforts the higher education and training institutions and the Department of Higher Education and Training were making in dealing with registration challenges.

“Whilst taking issue with the short period within which they had to respond to the new policy, the institutions nevertheless welcomed the decision of free education for the poor. It is worth noting that these institutions are now working with each other in a coherent way due to the new policy,” Ms September said.

“We must also welcome the efforts made by the institutions to take the opportunity to make improvements in the manner applications are processed, as well as the installation of more technologies and volunteers to assist the process,” she said.

Ms September, as part of her constituency work had undertaken visits to various institutions since last week, where she observed a steady but organised registration of students including first time applicants, who decided to do walk-in applications. Her visit to universities and colleges is continuing throughout the registration period.

She said she was informed that the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, had sent letters to institutions informing them of their grants in December 2017.

“Some of the institutions informed me of the desire to get students to be accountable and ensure that the throughput is improved. Engagements with TVET Colleges do not appear as coherent, hence the Department needs to provide more capacity to certain institutions,” she said.

“We must allow students to take up their much needed opportunity by allowing them to register in an uninterrupted manner.”

She reiterated a call to political parties not to disrupt the process of registration at the institutions and called on all to work in unison for a better future for the students.

Issued by Sibongile Maputi, Parliamentary Communication Services, 16 January 2018