Providing free higher education for all under the current system will dramatically increase the burden on the state while giving a free ride to the rich and affluent middle class who make up 40%-50% of student enrolments. The fear among many educationalists is that this will result in the sector being able to enrol fewer students and will compromise the quality of education, given that SA is severely fiscally constrained and stuck in a low-growth environment. Fortunately, a task team set up by higher education minister Blade Nzimande last year, led by former FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana, has proposed a more rational solution than free education for all. The plan is to overhaul the indebted National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) and replace most of its operational functions with a new private-public partnership (PPP) scheme, the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme. The key to the new model is to broaden the available funding by accessing private institutional funding. Cabin...

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