Varsities get timely boost

Universities South Africa (USAf), a body made up of vice-chancellors of the country’s public universities, has secured a R280-million from the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP-Seta) as a grant to fund bursaries of students for the 2020 academic year.

The organisation said R200-million will go into bursaries of at least 7 000 students enrolled for undergraduate study, while the remaining R80-million will be allocated towards bursaries of at least 2 500 students pursuing post-graduate studies USAf CEO Professor Ahmed Bawa said the target students belong in the missing-middle category and that the 9 500 beneciaries will be selected by financial aid oces across the public university system.

“While this amount will reach about 38% of the target population, a large majority remains left out in the cold,” Bawa said.

“That is why USAf continues to negotiate with private sector organisations to join it in partnerships that seek to drive a fundamental transformation of our society by increasing access to higher education of students from the economically struggling class.

“It is also critical to retain those students in the system for the duration of their study, and that they succeed and complete their studies in record time.’’

USAf and ETDP-Seta are currently verifying the selection submissions received from universities.

CEO of the ETDP-Seta, Nombulelo Nxesi, said USAf’s involvement in these bursary allocations will help eliminate possible duplications of bursary disbursements towards students in need.

“It is only through education that the lives of our people can be improved for the better,” said Nxesi.

Universities and TVET colleges have begun preparations to welcome back students to campuses a¡er the academic year was severely impacted by the
COVID-19.

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande last month announced the phased reopening of campus activities.

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