Following a visit to the University of Zululand, the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation says it is pleased with the institution’s readiness for the 2023 academic year.
The committee is currently conducting oversight visits to institutions in KwaZulu-Natal on governance and management-related matters, as well as teaching and learning, and expanding access to education and training.
During an oversight visit at the main institution’s campus in KwaDlangezwa, the committee expressed its satisfaction that all governance structures - including the university Council, the Student Representative Council (SRC) and the Institutional Forum- agreed that it is all systems go for the academic year.
Committee Chairperson, Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, said the university has a fully constituted SRC, which will ensure that the voices of the students be included in decision-making by the university.
The committee commended the university for its effective online application and registration processes, as well as efforts to extend the registration period if and when necessary.
The university said it will allow walk-in registrations due to the challenges students face when coming from rural areas.
The committee commended the university’s commitment to pay students who are confirmed by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to be eligible for funding, living allowances while waiting for NSFAS to pay the university the upfront payment.
“We are of the view that this is a progressive step to ensure that students can be able to pay residence fees to private providers, have meals and transport fare to come to the institution,” Mkhatshwa said.
The committee had a tour of the site for the new two student residences, each with a capacity for 1 500 beds, which are under construction, as well as three older residences that were decommissioned for refurbishment.
All the projects are expected to be ready and handed over to the university by October or November 2023.
It also observed that the university is building a new engineering facility to expand the engineering programmes offering.
The committee further applauded the university for developing a safety and security app for students to report if they have safety concerns. The SRC said the app has helped many students receive prompt intervention.
The week-long oversight visit programme included a visit to Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, universities and science, technology and innovation initiatives under the Department of Science and Innovation. – SAnews.gov.za