Concerns over Insufficient Tertiary Funding
PARLIAMENT, THURSDAY, 15 JANUARY 2015 – While commending the Department of Higher Education and Training for increasing the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allocation, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training Mrs Yvonne Phosa has noted that funding for tertiary students was still inadequate.
Minister Blade Nzimande announced on Monday (12 January 2015) that the NSFAS allocation has been increased to R9.5 billion, which will cater for 205 000 students at universities and 200 000 students at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.
Mrs Phosa said: “We agree with the Minister that the higher education allocation of 1.4% of the GDP is very low and we support the need for more funds to be allocated to institutions of higher learning to meet the need for a continuous increase of access to higher education and training, quality education and equity.
“We call upon business, future employers and individual donors to partner with the department by availing more funds for bursaries. We also appeal to universities, as much as it’s their prerogative, to consider assisting in alleviating the challenge by utilising their reserves.”
The Committee Chairperson further observed that the harsh reality is that there are limited places at universities and “we would like to encourage students to enrol at TVET colleges as advised by the department”.
“In 2014 the department published a policy on the provision of distance learning as part of the broader focus on building capacity in the post-school education and training system. Students who cannot access entry at universities are encouraged to consider registering at distance learning institutions.”
“On behalf of the Committee, I would like to wish all the 2015 tertiary students a productive and successful academic year.”
Issued by Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of the Committee Chairperson, Mrs Yvonne Phosa.
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