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A smooth start to the 2024 academic year depends on navigating challenges

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A smooth start to the 2024 academic year depends on navigating challenges

A smooth start to the 2024 academic year depends on navigating challenges. The 2024 academic year is commencing in South African higher learning institutions, with over a million students expected to enroll in universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges nationwide.

Check also: ZA Student Portal

Recognition and Challenges of the Previous Year

Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, commends the achievements of the 2023 higher education class and acknowledges the 82.9% pass rate of the matric class of 2023. Many of these successful matriculants are anticipated to enter the higher education sector in 2024.

Urgent Assistance for Tertiary Students

Mkhatshwa emphasizes the need for timely assistance to first-time and returning tertiary students, urging preparedness and collaboration among stakeholders to mitigate challenges.

Stakeholder Meetings and Readiness Assessment

To prepare for the new academic year, the committee engages with key stakeholders, including Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), student unions, and the TVET Governor’s Council. Stakeholders assure the committee of their readiness and plans for a smooth start to the academic year.

Addressing Concerns and Disruptions

Concerns are raised about NSFAS facing challenges in finalizing matters from the previous year. The committee stresses the urgent resolution of these issues to avoid disruptions in student registration for 2024.

Financial Assistance for Missing-Middle Students

The committee seeks the Ministerial Task Team Report on the Comprehensive Student Funding Model, especially regarding financial aid for missing-middle students. Minister Nzimande launched the Comprehensive Funding Model in January to provide government support for students not qualifying for NSFAS bursaries.

Addressing Allegations and Oversight Visits

The committee plans to engage with stakeholders affected by allegations against Minister Nzimande and NSFAS Board Chairperson Ernest Khosa. Allegations, based on leaked audio recordings, suggest kickbacks for a contract award. Additionally, oversight visits to institutions in the Eastern Cape are scheduled to assess readiness for the new academic year.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the proactive measures taken by the committee and stakeholders aim to ensure a smooth start to the 2024 academic year. Timely assistance, resolution of challenges, and ongoing oversight reflect a commitment to the success and well-being of higher education in South Africa.

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NSFAS News

South Africa Two New Universities | The Latest Update

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South Africa Two New Universities | The Latest Update

South Africa Two New Universities |The Latest Update. South Africa is poised to tackle its skill shortage head-on with the rapid development of two innovative universities, aiming not only to expand access to higher education but also to tailor programs to meet the demands of the local job market.

Check Also: ZA Student Portal

Hammanskraal University | Targeting Crime Prevention

One of the newly proposed universities, Hammanskraal University, is set to play a pivotal role in combating the nation’s crime epidemic by specializing in Police and Crime Detection. Currently, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is conducting a thorough evaluation of existing expertise within the Hammanskraal police academy to identify areas for enhancement through new faculty appointments.

Additionally, partnerships with established universities offering advanced degrees in relevant fields are being explored to bolster the university’s academic prowess.

Ekurhuleni University of Science and Innovation| Fostering Scientific Advancement

In a bid to address the absence of a major university in Ekurhuleni, the region will soon be home to the Ekurhuleni University of Science and Innovation, dedicated to promoting Science and Innovation. As the planning enters its second phase, critical considerations such as infrastructure development, faculty recruitment, and curriculum design are at the forefront.

This includes meticulous planning for a state-of-the-art campus equipped with modern facilities and technology, as well as strategies to attract and retain top-tier faculty members.

Government Initiatives For Collaboration and Growth

Recognizing the significance of collaboration in nurturing strong academic institutions, the government has outlined several strategies to foster partnerships and streamline transitions for students. This includes collaborating with established universities to lay a solid academic foundation, bridging the gap between vocational training colleges and the new universities, and creating pathways for postgraduate studies.

The exploration of articulation pathways at the postgraduate level signifies a commitment to providing diverse opportunities for academic advancement and specialization.

Conclusion

The development of these two new universities underscores South Africa’s commitment to addressing skill shortages and driving innovation in key sectors. By prioritizing collaboration, strategic planning, and stakeholder engagement, the government aims to ensure the success and sustainability of these institutions for generations to come.

As the implementation phase gains momentum, the prospect of a brighter future for South African higher education looms ever closer.

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