Value-for-money tertiary education

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pretoria - Higher Education South Africa (HESA) says it is in the process of finalising guidelines aimed at assisting institutions make tuition fees affordable while ensuring quality of teaching and learning.

The guidelines also aim to provide student support and other services as well as the financial sustainability of the institutions.

HESA Executive Secretary, Marianne Hattingh said they were committed to affording deserving learners financial support as long as they met their respective tertiary institutions' entry requirements.

Hatting said they wanted to strengthen institutional systems for detecting early warning signals on student performance as well as mechanisms for re-directing underperforming students to other areas of study.

"The sector has specifically committed to ensuring that the goal of being responsive in terms of facilitating is not by institutional inability to ensure effective collection of debt," she said, adding that the current student debt within the sector is in the region of R2.8 billion.

HESA has also committed to giving special attention to broadening access for students from Quintile 1 schools, which are located in poor communities in extremely disadvantaged rural areas of the country.

Students from these schools are to get special support to enter into higher education as well as support to enhance their chances of success, Hattingh said.

Early this month, the 23 universities in the public higher education system made a commitment to the Ministry of Higher Education and Training that they would facilitate increased access to higher education and ensure that it remains affordable for most.

Tuition fee increases across the sector for 2010 as a percentage of 2009 fees have been kept in the range 9-15 percent in line with inflationary pressures, as well as agreements and commitments within individual institutions as a result of internal consultation processes.