R89,9 billion for Higher Education and Training this year

Minister Naledi Pandor, Deputy Minister Buti Manamela and DG Gwebs Qonde

The Higher Education and Training Department has outlined their plans for the year, and details of how their annual budget will be allocated. R38,6 billion will be provided to universities, R16,9 billion for skills development, R10,7 billion for TVET Colleges and R2,3 billion for CET Colleges.

The government expects that 84 000 first year students will be fully funded to attend universities via NSFAS this year. This is a result of the 'fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working class South Africans' policy that was announced by President Zuma in 2017.

This is in addition to the 190 000 students in other years of study who will be funded at the 'average full cost of study'.

Minister Pandor highlighted the R934 million that would be used for the University Capacity Development Programme this year.  This will assist all 26 public universities to work on developing their curricula. This work will include working on de-colonising the curriculum, which was one of the key issues raised in student protests on campus over the last two years.

TVET Colleges will also get a lot of attention from the DHET this year.  Minister Pandor explained that their research had shown that TVET colleges that marry good teaching with good links to local industry show much greater employment rates for their graduates.  

She hopes to see the colleges become institutions of first choice for young people and for that they must have appropriate infrastructure.  "We have begun to see a turnaround. I think it is one of the most exciting sectors if it is properly supported and funded".

Other budget highlights include:

  • The Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education programme has been piloted and is now being scaled up in 2018/19. Universities South Africa is partnersing with the DHET to enable large-scale implementation of the programme in all universities across the country and a three-year implementation plan has been finalised.
  • The Infrastructure and Efficiency Grant is approximately R8.5 billion over the 2018/19 - 2020/21 cycle.
  • The student housing infrastructure programme (SHIP) is a long-term plan to provide 300,000 new beds for students at institutions in the post-school education and training sector over 10 years. 
  • TVET Colleges receive an additional subsidy of R1,4 billion for 2018/19, and R6.6 billion over the MTEF and for the first time TVET colleges receive R1,3 billion in 2018 and R4,4 billion over the MTEF for infrastructure.
  • Community colleges will focus on the development of a national policy for lecturer development. The National Skills Fund will provide funds to train personnel at CET Colleges in terms of IT infrastrucutre, governance and financial management. The project led by SAICA is expected to run over 3 years and has a budget of R149 million.
  • The National Artisan Development Strategy underpins closer cooperation between TVET colleges, private training providers, employers and Setas.
  •  The Department was an integral part of the planning processes leading towards the launch in March 2018 of the Youth Employment Service that aims to empower a million young people over the next three years.
  • The R934 million University Capacity Development Programme for all 26 unversities focuses on three key development areas: student development towards enhancing student success, staff development particularly in regards to teaching, research and leadership and management, and curriculum development.