Twitter #AskDMManamela about Fee Free Higher Education

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fee Free Higher Education is on the minds of Twitter users as demonstrated by the questions posed to the Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Buti Manamela during his #ASKDMManamela live Twitter chat.

"Can we register for this year if we are still in arrears? Does Fee Free Higher Education announced by the President apply to employed students earning less than R350 000 per annum? Is the funding only for first year students and is it effective this academic year?"

These were just some of the questions posed by Twitter users to the Deputy Minister.

In a tweet by Twitter handle @lebomathlo, the user asked the Deputy Minister if employed students who earn less than R350 000 are covered.

“Does it cover us who are employed but earn below R350k per annum,” tweeted @lebomathlo.

In response to @lebomathlo, the Deputy Minister using his personal Twitter account @ButiManamela responded “yes”.

Not only are working students earning less than R350 000 covered, Fee Free Higher Education is for all qualifying undergraduate students regardless of their degree of choice.

Fifteen minutes into the Deputy Minister’s live chat, he trended at number three on the social media platform.

Prospective students also asked the Deputy Minister if they could still apply for funding with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Twitter user @TheMontell was told by the Deputy Minister that applications for the 2018 academic year are closed but he was directed to his institution’s Financial Aid office for further assistance.  

And of course Twitter users did not hold back with their banter and wrapped the Deputy Minister over the knuckles for a typo he made in a tweet where he said “applications for 2918 are closed…”

Twitter user @Joe_Man_Joe tweeted “@DrTV_ @ButiManamela 2918? Talk about long time planning, literally.”

But the Minister did not shy away and responded to @Joe_Man_Joe. “Yes. Long planning and long thumbs that presses a 9 instead of 0. Welcome to the future #HigherEducationSA”

In closing off his live chat, the Deputy Minister referred those seeking further clarity on Fee Free Higher Education to President Jacob Zuma’s 16 December 2017 statement.

“More details on Fee Free Higher Education, read http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/newsletters/president%E2%80%99s-response-heher-commission-inquiry-higher-education-and-training .Thank you for participating #HigherEducationSA,” the Deputy Minister tweeted.

The Deputy Minister’s Twitter chat was part of government’s efforts for continued public engagement and educating students on higher education matters.

“The purpose is to provide students and prospective students an open and unmediated social media platform to seek clarity on any pertinent issues related to their studies including career development, registration and admissions as well as funding,” said Deputy Minister Buti Manamela.

The department was prompted to engage, as students slept overnight and queued outside the gates of higher learning institutions this week.

The DHET Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize, the Deputy Minister and Director General Gwebs Qonde also held a series of consultation meetings with stakeholders in the sector to address the concerns of students. – SAnews.gov.za

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