Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande has reportedly tabled his first plan to cover government’s  2016 university funding shortfall.

However, it looks like it’s set to do more harm than good for some public tertiary institutions.

According to the DA’s Belinda Bozzoli, shadow minister of Higher Education and Training, Nzimande and his department plan to move a total of R1.9 billion, most of it from already existing funds allocated to various higher education initiatives.

Nzimande said R1 billion will be allocated within this financial year and the remaining R900 million will be transferred in the 2016/17 financial year, beginning on 1st April 2016.

R300 million will come out of the National Treasury’s coffers, while R361 million will come from the Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDI) (also known as historically black universities) development grant set up by government earlier this year to address issues of underdevelopment, which will see R410 million contributed to it over five years

R1.2 billion will be taken from higher education Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). This money had already been set aside to fund:

  • 20 apprenticeship centres at (Technical Vocational Education and Training) TVET colleges
  • 3 966 Apprenticeships over the next three years
  • the filling of 500 TVET college lecturing posts

Nzimande “claimed that the projects would get the money back next year when a new budget is considered,” Bozzoli said on the DA’s website.

“The Minister is in no position to make such guarantees and it is clear that government has no intention of paying these funds back in the new year.”

If government successfully allocates the R1.9 billion, it will only need just under R1 billion more to cover the rest of the shortfall.

Government has previously not announced any measures it would be putting in place to cover the shortfall. In the meantime, the DA suggests the states scraps its alleged plans to buy a R4 billion new private VIP for president Jacob Zuma and instead use if for higher education.

[Source – DA, Image – CC Government ZA]