Answering questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, he said the new NSFAS guideline was to encourage students to aim higher and finish their qualifications in record time.

Nzimande said the NSFAS guidelines at the moment stood at 50% of modules passed and had not yet been amended.

He said the final guidelines would only be adopted once NSFAS had finalised consultations.

However, Nzimande has hit back at those who questioned the move: “Which means if we keep those criteria, a three-year degree will take six years to finish. Now we cannot want to appear revolutionary as sometimes the EFF does, by promoting and institutionalising failure.”

He said the new threshold was to encourage students to acquire their qualifications in record time.

“Firstly, it’s good for the students to finish on time and secondly, also it makes sure that we do not keep students in the system who are supposed to have finished.”

The new requirements will become effective in 2023.