CAPE TOWN - Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Training, Belinda Bozzoli says, the new Higher Education Minister, Hlengiwe Mkhize can revive the sector if she can urgently do the following 5 things.
Fight for more funding in Higher Education sector
Bozzoli claims that The Department of Higher Education and Training together with the National Treasury have found that the sector is underfunded by R35 billion per annum. Bozzoli further states that a high standard of governing the National Student Financial Aid Scheme could improve learners' access to the funds.
Insist on the release of the Fees Commission report by the president
According to Bozzoli, the Commission intended to assess the feasibility of free higher education was established two years ago and it is now nearly two months the President has received the final report. She laments that delaying the report will lead to more deserving students being sidelined from the funds and aggravate unemployment.
Assist in problems of instability and poor governance at key institutions
The shadow minister notes that the university protests have recurred this year at some universities including CPUT, UKZN and the University of the Free State. Student learning is threatened by these protests and adds to institutional instability.
Sort out accommodation problems at TVETs
Bozzoli says the government is investing a little at the Technical and Vocational Education Training. TVET's quality is poor, and their equipment is outdated. Students who get enrolled at these institutions have to scout for scarce expensive accomodation, she added.
Tackle the corruption and mismanagement at SETAs
In 2016/17 financial year, the Auditor General's report discovered that irregular expenditure in SETAs and the department itself reached R929 million. A big chunk of this expnditure was in the Skills Education Training Authorities.
"Minister Mkhize has a chance to make a positive impact in the lives of our tertiary students. Government’s neglect of the higher education sector has robbed too many young people of access to jobs and bright futures. We cannot allow this to continue and the DA calls on Minister Mkhize to address these problems urgently and purposefully," Bozzoli said in a statement.