Earlier this week the World Bank released a report that states that the policy to give free tertiary education to 90 percent of academically eligible students, to address inequalities, could be detrimental to the country’s economy.
In December 2017, former President Jacob Zuma announced the free education policy, which is the government’s plan to meet the national goal of doubling post-school education and training (PSET) enrolment by 2030.
“The strain would be equivalent to about one percent point of gross domestic product, leaving fewer public resources to increase admission capacity without compromising education quality,“ said World Bank South Africa program leader, Sebastien Dessus, to The Citizen.
The World Bank states that the free education policy would put pressure on an already stretched National Treasury. For the country’s economy to be sustainable sooner, it would need to address the skills gap added the organisation.
They also suggested that the country could increase college enrolments more rapidly and reduce inequality faster by re-balancing budgetary resources and policy reform attention towards interventions that improved the quality of education. No future comment was made by the government.