WE HAVE A CRISIS, STUDENT FUNDING IS NOT WORKING – BAWA
By: Lucky Khanyile
In his attempt to explain the lack of funding at tertiary institutions, Durban University of Technology’s Vice Chancellor Professor Ahmed Bawa has revealed that student
funding is in a crisis.
Bawa recently spoke about the issue of student funding in the 4th Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Symposium hosted by DUT at Ritson campus last week.
“We have a crisis. Student funding is not working for the poorest of the poor.
It is not working for lower-middle class either since they don’t qualify for financial aid.
It’s a hugely inefficient system; it just doesn’t work.
Unless we have a radical change in the way we think about funding of higher education, the system is going to face great difficulty,” warned Bawa.
The country recently witnessed a national shutdown of institutions in the #feesmustfall campaign. The 2014/2015 budget allocated to National Student
Financial Aid Scheme was 8.8 billion. This is only a slight increase from the R8.2 billion in 2013/2014 currently managed by the scheme.
In his budget speech for 2015/2016 budget, Nzimande announced that NSFAS budget will increase to R9.5 billion for the allocation of 205 000 university student loans.
“We work very closely with NSFAS to work out how to improve its service.
The difficulty though is that NSFAS simply does not receive sufficient resources from the Treasury for the needs of financial aid.
The demand for financial aid at DUT by far outstrips the supply of it.
There’s just not enough money and this has not been dealt with but come January at DUT, that is going to be a big issue,” added Bawa.
Sizwe Nxasana, NSFAS CEO said that the scheme has its challenges but continues to operate.
“I will be spending time with the team, the board and other stakeholders to make sure we understand what is going on before we start dealing with some of the issues and
challenges the NSFAS faces.”