Addressing gender-based violence at institutions of higher learning

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

As part of dealing with gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) at institutions of higher learning, government will soon be launching the Transforming MENtalities Initiative, with a focus on mobilising men in the sector to become champions for a world free of gender biases, stereotypes, violence and discrimination.

Higher Education and Training Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, on Tuesday said the department had noted various incidents of gender-based violence on campuses with many resulting in female students being brutally killed.

Briefing the media on the state of readiness for the post school education and training (PSET) sector for the 2023 academic year on Tuesday, Nzimande said the brutal murder of Nosicelo Mtebeni, Uyinene Mrwetyana, Precious Ramabulana, Jesse Hess, and others had highlighted the vulnerability of female students to gender-based violence.

He said all institutions, working with HIGHER HEALTH, sought to provide safe workplaces and learning spaces for staff and students.

“HIGHER HEALTH is currently implementing programmes towards addressing the challenges of sexual and gender-based violence within the PSET system. These programmes are aligned to the DHET Policy Framework to Address Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the Post-School Education and Training System.  

“Through HIGHER HEALTH we have established a multi-sectoral PSET Gender-Based Violence Technical Task Team chaired by Professor LenkaBula, to ensure the effective implementation of the DHET Policy Framework,” Nzimande said.

In addition, he has established a Ministerial Task Team on Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Violence in the university sector, chaired by Professor Sibongile Muthwa.

The MTT has submitted a report for consideration and the Minister will soon be releasing it to the public.

NSFAS student accommodation

Meanwhile, Nzimande announced that for the 2023 academic year, all institutions will apply their own existing process to allocate accommodation, including universities and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

“The new reforms by National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), will not apply in this current registration period. However, it must be noted that NSFAS opened the new accommodation portal on the 9th  December 2022 and 44 accreditation agents were appointed to start with the accreditation of accommodation,” Nzimande explained. 

He added that since the opening of the portal, 1 120 accommodation providers have applied on the site, with 574 272 beds listed. –