There is no such thing as "free education". Someone has to pay‚ be it the state‚ firms‚ households or donors. This was the crux of the submission by the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC)‚ an independent constitutional advisory body‚ in Pretoria on Thursday. The FFC delegation‚ led by its commissioner‚ Professor Daniel Plaatjies‚ pointed out that returns on education had both social and private beneficiaries‚ therefore there has always been a private and a social component. Ramos Mabugu‚ FFC’s head of research‚ said the cost for the 2016 "no fee increase" ranged between R2.6bn and R4.2bn‚ depending on which methodology was used. He said approaches vary depending on whether the focus is on inputs‚ services or outcomes, and whether the determination is made by the university itself or national departments. "One fairly objective approach is to begin with the weights from the consumer price index (CPI)‚ where cost of education accounts for 2.95% of consumer spending — basic and secon...

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