Working graduates should pay a special “graduate tax” to help fund free education in South Africa, according to a new tax proposal by Universities SA CEO, Ahmed Bawa.
Speaking to The Times, Bawa said that, following the #FeesMustFall protests in 2015, and the subsequent move by government to introduce 0% fee increases in 2016, South African universities have come under financial strain.
Earlier in July, Rhodes University indicated that it was in a “financially vulnerable” position, while other institutes, like Stellenbosch, have heavyweight donors backing them.
According to Bawa, universities need to look at other funding mechanisms to stay afloat while achieving the goal of free tertiary education, and a graduate tax would be one avenue he recommends be explored by government.
“Irrespective of when they studied, employed graduates should make some contribution to the fees of those coming after them,” Bawa said.
However, economists have argued against yet another tax being pushed onto the working populace, saying that the tax base was already being overtaxed, and that government should focus on what it wants taxpayers to pay for, rather than milking them for everything.
Struggling students owe over R6 billion in student fee debt, with over 400,000 defaulting on their loans.
A decision on what will happen with 2017’s fees will be coming in the next few weeks, according to the department of higher education.
Source: Business Tech