The Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande said the department is working to create a partnership to boost investment in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector infrastructure.
More than R11 billion has been invested towards university infrastructure. This investment will benefit the country's 26 universities between 2021 and 2023.
“I have restructured and streamlined infrastructure management within my department and I appointed a Ministerial Advisory Team (MACI) on Post School Education and Training (PSET) infrastructure, as well as established, working together with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), an Infrastructure Project Management Office, with a particular focus on student accommodation.
“We will also mobilise investment from, and establish partnerships with the private sector in order to accelerate provision of student accommodation in particular, within the framework of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Committee,” Nzimande said.
Along with this, the department has also invested R496 million towards student housing. This investment will also benefit historically disadvantaged institutions.
He said the department aims to not only boost infrastructure but to also train lecturers and develop the curriculum at institutions.
“The establishment of new TVET lecturer qualifications and the development of associated programmes, and their offering by universities is also well underway,” Nzimande said.
The Higher Education Department has not only been making progress with securing investments. Minister Nzimande said government allocation for NSFAS funding has increased significantly over the years.
Over 6 years, NSFAS funding has increased from R5.9 billion in 2014 to R34.7 billion in 2020. The Minister has commended government for providing education to students currently funded by NSFAS.
“Other than Cuba, we are not aware of any country in the world that provides such comprehensive higher education support for poor students. And all this is a free bursary that does not have to be paid back anymore since 2018,
“The government also made funds available to pay off the historic debt of NSFAS funded students incurred prior to the introduction of the DHET bursary in 2018, and there is also significant improvement in terms of controls at NSFAS and the payment of allowances,” he said.