Government to start enrolment planning for 2020 and beyond

The Department of Higher Education and Training is to embark on a new enrollment planning exercise for the academic period 2020 to 2025.

The planning exercise is expected to determine funding for universities and TVET colleges for the 2022/23 to 2027/28 financial years.

Higher Education and Training Minister, Naledi Pandor, said universities are required to submit their plans by the end of September 2018 taking into consideration their available resources, such as infrastructure and staffing.

“Engagements with universities on their plans will take place in November 2018. Thereafter universities will be afforded an opportunity to rework their plans,” Minister Pandor said.

The Minister was responding to questions for oral replies in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Tuesday.

Asked a question on what plans are in place to address the anticipated increase in the enrolment of students in higher education institutions as a result of the introduction of free higher education for the poor and working class, Minister Pandor explained that each university has an approved funded enrolment plan for the academic period 2014 to 2019.

“These were all developed through a consultation process with institutions and signed off by the Minister of Higher Education and Training in 2013. This plan determines the Teaching Input Units, and therefore budgets of universities for the financial period 2016/17 to 2021/22.

“Universities are required to manage their enrolments according to their enrolment plans with a maximum permitted deviation of 2% from their targets. Institutions that under or over enrol are penalised financially,” Minister said.

She added that the additional funding provided to support free higher education for students from poor and working class families in universities is being provided through the new Department of Higher Education and Training Bursary Scheme, that will be phased in over a five-year period starting this year with first time entry students into the university system.

In 2018 it is estimated that 40% of the 208 000 spaces for first-time entering students in universities will be filled by eligible students whose families are earning below R350 000 per annum.

“The available funding is for students who are admitted to universities and qualify in terms of financial and admission criteria,” she said.