Picture: Tracey Adams/ANA.

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Higher Education and Training will implement an enrollment planning exercise to determine funding for universities and TVET colleges, reports SA news. 

This comes after an enrolment plan was signed off in 2013 by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande. 

The new exercise will see government working together with universities and TVET colleges to determine their funding for the 2022/23 to 2027/2028 financial years. 

Current Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor on Tuesday responded to questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The Minister said that government will engage with universities this year. 

“Engagements with universities on their plans will take place in November 2018. Thereafter universities will be afforded an opportunity to rework their plans,” said Higher Education and Training Minister, Naledi Pandor. 

Government is set to engage with universities in November 2018. 

Universities should manage their enrolments and can only deviate 2% from their targets. 

The enrolment exercise will assist government in determining how many students will receive funding and to also ensure that tertiary institutions can cater for the influx of students. 

Addressing the need for student accommodation at TVET colleges, Pandor said that government is working toward taking care of this. 

As part of the departments Student Housing Infrastructure Programme, government aims to provide 300 000 new beds for students at institutions in the post-school education and training sector by 2026. 

100 000 of these beds will be placed at TVET colleges. 

Meanwhile, in February this year, former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced that Treasury has allocated an additional amount of R57-billion to the department of higher education and training in order to fund free university education for qualifying students.

Government said that it will hold off on some of its capital projects and reduce spending on goods and services in order to find R57-billion to fund free tertiary education.

This means that that government procurement on goods and services reduces by R16.5-billion. Transfers to provinces and municipalities will slash by R27.4-billion.

Treasury had been forced to scramble for additional money to fund free tertiary education following the surprise announcement by former president Jacob Zuma in December 2017, that education would be free. 

Gigaba noted that that the largest reallocation of resources towards government's priorities was on higher education and training‚ "amounting to additional funding of R57-billion over the medium term," he said.

Free tertiary education, for qualifying students from working-class families‚ with a combined family income of under R350‚000 per annum, will roll out to cover all years of study.

Returning students who have received financial support from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme will see their student loans converted into bursaries.

"This is an important step forward in breaking the cycle of poverty and confronting youth unemployment‚ as labour statistics show that unemployment is lowest for tertiary graduates‚" Gigaba said.

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