The department’s Director General, Gwebinkundla Qonde, says they are deeply concerned over student unrest at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the misleading reports suggesting that government has already reached a firm position on university fee adjustments for 2017.
"After Minister Blade Nzimande recently received the report of the Council on Higher Education on their recommendation for 2017 fees, he decided to gather further views from all stakeholders, including students and university councils before proceeding with any announcement on the matter. These delicate consultations are continuing,” Qonde said.
He said the department is hopeful that the current consultations will conclude successfully, with an announcement expected to be made later this month.
Qonde said government has over the past two decades invested significant resources to assist students who come from poor families through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
“It is also committed to ensuring that this support is strengthened going forward, as it continues to progressively implement free higher education for the poor, as per the current policy.
“Government is also committed to providing better support for middle class students. It recognises the burden that working and middle class families bear in supporting their children through basic education and into higher education, and the need to find workable solutions for these groups that are not currently supported through NSFAS."