Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology, Blade Nzimande, says universities will open for first year applications between March and April.
Nzimande briefed the media on Monday on his department’s plan for higher institutions of learning following the decision by Basic Education Department to delay the reopening of schools by two weeks.
“Universities will only open at the end of March and beginning of April to accommodate first year students. However, some returning students may be called to return earlier by their respective institutions.”
He said all universities have agreed to open in line with the release of the matric results in February 26.
“We have given instruction for now that institutions should open between March and April 2021,” said Nzimande.
Meanwhile, the minister said the National School Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has received 750 000 applications for the 2021 academic year.
“This is a 25% increase from the previous year. We had 185 000 more applications and 61% of them are SASSA beneficiaries,” said Nzimande.
Nzimande said DHET has been getting requests to extend applications for NSFAS for 2021.
“We are not going to reopen NSFAS applications. We gave people four months last year to apply. We will certainly not reopen applications for 2021,” added Nzimande.
He also touched on the issue at the University of South Africa (UNISA), where it is being reported that first-time applications will be cut by 20 000.
“Enrolment planning is very important. Universities give the department its enrolment plans. However, UNISA did not do this and so we had to assist. We found that they are admitting more than the university can accommodate,” said Nzimande.
(SOURCE: INSIDE EDUCATION)