Minister of Higher Education addressed the National Assembly on Tuesday and reiterated government's commitment to finding long-term solutions to the education crisis that has gripped South Africa.
Nzimande spoke to CapeTalks's Koketso Sachane about plans to review the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFS) and provide free education to the poor, this has been referred to as 'the missing middle'.
Nzimande insists they do have a roadmap to aid transformation which deals with short-term, medium and long-term solutions.
The immediate short-term demands are how to resolve 2017 student fees.
Government is going to pay fees for NSFS students.— Dr. Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education
He says the Fees Commission must find a lasting solution to funding higher education for the poor.
They intend to review funding formula for universities, rethinking just how universities should be funded.
Low pass rates are a major concern.
We are losing billions because 40% of NSFS students fail their first year— Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education
He says students are required to pay back a portion of their NSFS loan and interest only kicks in 12 months after graduation.
The repayment of NSFS loans needs to be resolved and he says the funding model will be reviewed.
There is a system failure within NSFS. It is a weakness of the NSFS which we are willing to admit only getting back four percent of what is owed.— Dr. Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education
He says his department engages students all the time but feels there is an urgent need for dispute resolution mechanisms.
He worries about the "all or nothing" approach of some student groups and says a recognition agreement is needed to work with one elected student body such as the SRC.
At present, there are many groups with different ideologies, strategies, and tactics, making negotiation and conversation difficult, he says.
Listen to Nzimande outlining the roadmap for education and callers questions: