CAPE TOWN – President Jacob Zuma used his reply to the State of the Nation Address debate in Parliament on Thursday, to address the issue of higher education, saying everyone should have access to it.
Zuma addressed students’ concerns regarding the costs of tertiary education, after being accused of not addressing this in his SONA last Thursday.
“Education is an important instrument for radical economic transformation. Education was used as an instrument of subjugation and we are using it as an instrument to free the current and next generations from the shackles of the past,” the President said.
Zuma praised the work of government in eradicating mud schools and improving water and sanitation to schools in poor communities.
The president reiterated government’s commitment to those who cannot afford to study at institutions of higher learning.
“Government will make higher education accessible to more students from poor families and the families of the working class. In total, government has reprioritised R32 billion… to support higher education.”
Zuma also focused on the high number of youths who are unemployed.
While the joblessness rate currently stands at 26.5%, the number of young people who do not have work at 37.1%.
“The radical education transformation programme of government supports our youth through the creation of economic opportunities to ensure that they are employed and have access to entrepreneurial opportunities,” the President told MPs.