Cape Town - There is a shortage of more than 400000 beds for student accommodation at South African universities, with rural-based tertiary institutions and TVET colleges being worst affected.
This was revealed during a briefing on Tuesday, where Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande provided an update on the state of readiness at higher learning institutions for the 2023 academic year.
It comes a week after basic education released the National Senior Certificate (NSC) matric results. The Matric class of 2022 saw 278 815 pupils achieve bachelor’s passes and 197357 diploma passes.
Nzimande congratulated these pupils, but he acknowledged universities might not have the capacity or space to absorb all of the candidates.
He said challenges included students oversubscribing to universities, and also requirements for certain courses. More than 1.1 million enrolment spaces are anticipated within the public university sector for the 2023 academic year.
TVET college enrollment for the 2023 academic year is 556 415. “Our first-time entering enrolments have been projected at 208299 nationally. 69 069 of these first-time entering enrolments will be within scarce skills areas.
University registration for the academic year 2023 commenced on January 16, and is expected to close on February 20. However, several of our universities will allow late registrations. These universities include CPUT, DUT and University of Fort Hare,” said Nzimande.
He expressed concern over the shortage of student accommodation, stating it was exposing students to vulnerabilities, including serious crimes and gender-based violence.
In terms of NSFAS funding, more than 1 million applications have been received through the scheme’s online application portal and 156 700 of these were from SASSA beneficiaries.
“All SASSA beneficiaries have received instant funding approval, pending registration at any of our public universities or TVET colleges.
NSFAS will release application results for those who applied for funding for the first time and returning students on February 6, 2023 while the funded list for continuing students has been released today,” he said.
Those who have not applied for NSFAS funding have until January 31 to do so.
NSFAS seeks to pay all beneficiaries’ allowances directly without intermediary. Nzimande urged students to use allowances strictly for education-related matters.