NSFAS laptops have been taking a bit longer than expected. Minister Blade Nzimande has finally given some good news to students who have been waiting for months for devices.
A new tender has been awarded to 5 bidders who will work with NSFAS to provide laptops to students. The laptops will be given to students next year.
There were delays along the way that affected the procurement process. Many bidders did not meet the requirements for the first tender, which had to be cancelled.
A new laptop tender was then opened for bidders and closed on 21 September 2020. By the closing date, NSFAS had received a total of 140 bid proposals which was then cut down to the final 5 bidders.
"NSFAS is in the process of completing the contractual arrangements with all succesful service providers, following which the details of the final mutually agreed guidelines will be communicated with all institutions." said the Minister.
Minjster Blade Nzimande apologised for the delay in the arrival of NSFAS laptops. He also thanked Dr Randall Carolissen, the Administrator of NSFAS whose term comes to an end in December.
"Despite many challenges, NSFAS is a much better entity now than it was when you took over," said Nzimande.
NSFAS has received a total of 648 000 applications for 2021 funding. Female students account for 69% of the applications while male students account for 31%.
KwaZulu Natal dominates over other provinces, making up 27% of the total applications received so far.
Gauteng (20%) and Limpopo (16%) follow closely behind. The Minister is concerned with the Western Cape and Northern Cape, as both provinces fall behind on applications submitted for funding.
The minister is also concerned about the low rate of applications from students with disabilities. Students have been urged to apply so they can have additional resources.
NSFAS has launced an outreach programme to visit applicants who have not yet applied for funding. All application centres will remain fully functional until the closing date
Minister Nzimande said NSFAS is expecting to receive more applications before the closing date.