THERE was a stand-off between the police and students at the Mangosuthu University of Technology. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The Department of Higher Education and Training tabled how it planned to deal with issues facing tertiary institutions before the National Assembly committee on education and recreation.

Diane Parker, the deputy director-general for universities at the Department of Higher Education, said the DHET and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) would work closely to implement the “new” bursary scheme for students.

Parker said this year’s protests at tertiary institutions were focused on allowance payments to students receiving NSFAS funding.

“Students were concerned about some aspects of funding policy, expressed in the DHET’s guidelines released in January.

“In particular, protests were focused on the policy to living, transport, accommodation allowances, which provided different allowances to students living at home and those who were in private accommodation,” she said.

Parker said the differentials were managed differently across their system.

She said the department supported a range of work to enhance student success, such as the introduction of the University Capacity Development Grant, and would continue to support the sustainability of all processes, including the possible funding scheme for “missing middle students”.

Parker said the department would implement the student housing infrastructure programme, which would work on partnerships to provide 200000 student beds for universities and 100000 beds for TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) college students over 10 years.

She said 18221 new beds would be provided over the next three years.

She also highlighted institutions involved including the University of the Western Cape with 2680 beds, Nelson Mandela University 2000 beds, North West University Mafikeng 1760 beds, Sefako Makgatho University 2000 beds, University of Fort Hare 1437 beds, University of Limpopo 3008 beds, University of Zululand 3500 beds and Vaal University of Technology 1836 beds.

Committee chairperson Lungelwa Zwane said the presentation was critical, “because it highlighted the number of challenges faced by students”.

Zwane said they were looking forward to seeing the implementation and solutions brought by the DHET, and triggered the department to conduct a policy review on the funding strategy.

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Cape Argus