NSFAS STUDENT CENTRED SYSTEM FAILS STUDENTS
By: Mnqobi Dludla
After the 1994 elections, the education system of South Africa had hopes of becoming more efficient.
The system was proposed on the 4th September 2012 at a NSFAS briefing that was chaired by Adv. I Malala of the African National Congress.
The basic reason behind the implementation of a new system was, over the last few years NSFAS has been inefficient because its systems were outdated. The transformation programme was now aimed at repositioning the whole of NSFAS to provide more efficient and more effective financial aid.
An amount of R98.2million was approved by the ministry for the period of two years. A break-down of how the amount would be spent showed that R4.82million and R1.49million would respectively be spent in 2012/13.
For infrastructure and implementation, the amount of R69 288 000.00 was to be spent in 2012 and R21 433 000.00 in 2013. R866 000.00 and R274 000.00 would be spent in 2012 and 2013 for policies, procedures and training, according to a summary released by the Parliamentary Monitoring Group.
The new systems implementation was set to be a direct medium between NSFAS and the students. Mr Themba Mosia , Board member said engagement with learners would take place at Grade 9 level, this was said to breach the gap and monitor closely the number of students who would qualify for loans and bursaries.
Mr Shai Makgoba, Chief Director at the University Financial planning stated that NSFAS made payment of up to 30% to every institution’s allocations and this could therefore serve as incentive for institutions to register students if they were in possession of a letter confirming financial aid.
For a number of universities, amongst them the Durban University of Technology an event almost known as a ritual to some consecutive student protests took place. It became obvious however that the Central Application model did not work
The main reasons for these protest actions- the students were not granted NSFAS loans and bursaries as promised. The confirmation letters were not available but communication was received by students via text messaging.
At times students were said to have applied succesfully for financial aid, only to realize they are not.
Isaac Shabalala a financial Accounting student at the Durban University of Technology said, “I received a text message which stated: your NSFAS application has been conditionally approved. A month later I received another one saying: NSFAS budget has been exhausted therefore your application is unsuccessful. I saw my future flash before my eyes.”
The administering of the Central Application Model remains questionable as more student protests occur country-wide.