Student Funding Challenges Need A Sustainable Solution

Student funding continues to be a challenge for South African students and government. Though there are funding systems in place, none of them seem sustainable enough to solve the issue. 

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Student funding challenges continue to be one of the countries main issues, as student continue to protest over historic debt and a lack of funding for higher education.

There is a lack of sustainable solutions to this ongoing problem and the Department of Higher Education is working to solve it 

Minister Blade Nzimande, is working to put together a task team to address the challenge of student funding. The task team will need to provide a sustainable solution to ensure the ongoing issue can come to an end.

Though there are systems in place with regards to funding students, there is surely still some gaps that need to be filled

Professor Francis Petersen, from the University of the Free State says: 

 I think where it actually goes wrong is the system of how to do it.

He believes that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) system is unsustainable and went wrong when changing the scheme from loan to bursary.

It went wrong because, there is no longer a constant flow of money coming in to provide prospective students with funding and the money solely comes from the government. 

Petersen believes that a better system would be an income contingent loan, where students receive a loan to study and after graduating, once established in the economy they can begin to pay back the loan.

For a successful funding scheme the public and private sectors need to work together to derive a sustainable solution. Experience and knowledge from both parties are required.

As fitting as an income contingent loan scheme would be, the unemployment rate for graduates is still fairly high and one of the reason for this is the entry level requirements of the private sector.

Prof. Francis says, it is the university and private sectors job to ensure that when students graduate they are more employable. 

The solution for the funding challenges however, still need to be properly addressed and a public-private sector relationship is a requirement for that. 

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