Pretoria: Admissions and the registration process at higher learning institutions are going well, the Department of Higher Education and Training said on Monday.
“Generally things at all our universities are fine, except in Durban University of Technology (DUT), where there are problems relating to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for returning students. The fund did not pay the last quarter of 2014 and therefore the university is withholding results, thus can’t register students now,” said department spokesperson, Khaye Nkwanyana.
Nkwanyana said the department has directed NSFAS CEO Msulwa Daca to fly to Durban today and sort the matter out as a strike is looming.
Minister Nzimande has also called on student leaders to provide leadership during strikes and not resort to violence and vandalizing of property.
Minister Nzimande made the call during a meeting with Education Alliance at the University of Johannesburg, on Friday, where he presented the 2015 academic opportunities and plans for the year.
Education Alliance is made up of the South African student congress, National Education Health and Allied Workers Union, Congress of South African Students, Higher education transformation network, Higher Education South Africa, Congress of South African Trade Unions, African National Congress, South African Communist Party and Young Communist League.
The Minister insisted that strikes must be the last resort, but negotiation must be a tool used, adding that in an event where this fails, they must escalate issues to the department before striking.
The NSFAS budget from the department for 2015/16 amounts to R6.299 billion and comprises R4.094 billion for university study loans and R2.205 billion for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College bursaries.
NSFAS has been allocated over R562.9 million for bursaries for scarce and critical skills for the current year.
Minister Nzimande advised students wishing to make use of the bursaries and enrol for critical skills which include science, commerce, health science and engineering among others.
Other notable donor allocations include funds from the Department of Basic Education (Funza Lushaka), the Department of Social Development and the National Skills Fund.
NSFAS will be funding 205 000 first time entering and continuing eligible students at 26 public universities and 200 000 students at 50 TVET Colleges in 2015 by providing student loans and bursaries totalling over R9.5 billion.
In 2014, NSFAS provided student loans and bursaries totalling over R8.3 billion, which excluded the once off allocation of R1 billion for the servicing of the 2013 shortfall of R700 million and 2014 shortfall of R300 million.
NSFAS has also earmarked R69.3 million in the 2015 academic year to provide financial aid to disabled students in universities.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS