Call for TVET student funding to be rectified

Inside one of the TVET colleges in the country. Picture: WCC

Inside one of the TVET colleges in the country. Picture: WCC

Published Dec 12, 2023


Durban — The South African Public Colleges Organisation (Sapco), which represents 50 TVET colleges, said an imbalance between university students and TVET students should be rectified as their students receive less funding, particularly when it comes to living allowances, the portfolio committee on higher education, science and innovation was told.

Moreover, Sapco said that 40 000 beds had been accredited in 2024 and proposed that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and service providers enter into direct leases and agreements on rental rates.

Recently, it was announced that the National Treasury could cut the NSFAS budget by 10%, which means about 86 712 students could be left unfunded in the 2024 academic year.

Sapco welcomed the fact that returning students’ allowances were paid two weeks after their results were released and their registrations confirmed. However, greater speed in paying tuition fees was also needed.

Universities South Africa (USAf), an umbrella body comprising 26 publicly funded universities, told the committee that 210 000 first-time students were expected to enrol, with total enrolment in the public sector standing at 1.1 million.

“The addition of the private sector brings the total to 1.3 million students,” said USAf.

It further raised concerns that both university and TVET students have problems securing accommodation every year. The SA Union of Students called on the department to monitor the NSFAS, as the NSFAS’s instability had a ripple effect that hits students from poor backgrounds hardest.

NSFAS board chairperson Ernest Khosa said budget cuts imposed by the National Treasury on the scheme could have a severe impact on the sector, as the scheme may not be able to pay allowances on time, especially at the beginning of the year.

NSFAS spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said on Monday that next year the scheme would take over the accreditation of private accommodation for the TVET colleges and universities.

However, he said they were still going to continue to work with the universities.

“NSFAS-funded students are not accommodated properly and all those challenges come back to NSFAS,” he said.

He added this was the reason why they would be playing a direct role in ensuring that all private accommodation establishments were accredited and that such a process would be managed by the NSFAS along with the higher learning institutions.

Mnisi added that the NSFAS had appointed a solution partner to conduct the accreditation process, to make sure that these institutions were accredited.

WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.

Daily News