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The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Ms Naledi Pandor, has told the Committee on Higher Education and Training that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding model needs to be reconsidered.

“Funding for poor students should not entirely be a responsibility of public funding. The private sector needs to come to the party, as it absorbs these graduates. We need to look at expansion and focus on the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, as this will be where the skills are developed,” Minister Pandor said.

She appeared before the committee on Wednesday alongside the Council for Higher Education (CHE). The CHE briefed the committee on the situation at the University of Zululand.

Minister Pandor said a proper funding model suited to college education is needed so that colleges do not become “quasi high schools”. “We need to make colleges more relevant to skills and the economy, rather than being diploma acquisition centres,” she said.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Connie September, alerted committee members that the Special Investigation Unit is investigating the mismanagement of funds at Tshwane South College.

Members raised a number of issues for the urgent consideration of the minister, including retaining skills, empowering struggling universities, the state of community colleges, outdated syllabuses at TVET colleges, certificate backlogs and student accommodation.

Minister Pandor said she will act swiftly to stamp out mismanagement of public finances at institutions of higher learning.

Sibongile Maputi
7 March 2018