Over 1 Million Students Expected To Enrol At Universities

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The Minister of Higher Education and Training has briefed the nation of state of residence for the 2022 tertiary education academic year.


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The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation has briefed the nation of state of readiness for the 2022 tertiary education academic year.

Minister Blade Nzimande has revealed that more than 1.1 million students are projected to enrol at South Africa’s 26 public universities.

Around 208 299 of these students will be registering for the first time. More than 69 069 students are enrolling in scarce skills programs.

More than 17 000 students of these students will be enrolling in engineering programs while around 17 000 will enrol in Life and Physical Sciences. Just above 900 students will be undertaking courses in Animal Sciences while more than 209 will study veterinary science. More than 10 400 students will study Human Health and 22 788 in Teacher Education.

The minister does however say they are concernced that not enough students are enrolling in the relevant scarce skills programs. This is as many of these scarce skills courses require students to have a mathematics pass mark of more than 60% which not enough students are obtaining.

The number expected to enrol at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges stands at around 508 000. Nzimande wants more students to enrol at TVET colleges. He adds that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) also provides bursaries to students with funding for TVET colleges.

The minister said this is an abnormal situation as there should be more students enrolled at TVET colleges. He believes that it is because more students are attending universities that create a misconception that government cares more about universities than about TVET colleges

Nzimande added that there is a review that will examine offerings at TVET colleges to ensure they are equipping students with relevant skills required by industries they hope to work in.

The minister says that as the country has exited the fourth wave of Covid-19, this provides hope of less disruptions to the 2022 academic year. Despite a recent announcement by the Cabinet and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) which will see the relaxation of restrictions.

He adds that the government is undertaking consultations around mandatory vaccination. He is also calling on everybody to vaccinate. He adds that consultations around vaccination should be made within the framework of our constitution.

Nzimande has called on all members of the higher education community and all the relevant stakeholders to get vaccinated against the virus. He adds that everybody has rights, however, rights are not absolute.

He has also called on Universities and TVET colleges that will be implementing vaccination policies to ensure that wide consultations take place when these policies are being drawn up. This includes guidelines and vaccination mandates.

The minister also hit out at what he describes as a false narrative being spread around the 30% pass rate. He explained that no student will enter a university with 30% pass mark. He says that education has exit points at both the higher end and the lower end.

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