Govt to look into opening NCape, Mpuma universities

Friday, September 18, 2009

Parliament - Minister for Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande has been tasked with looking into establishing universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.

Chairperson of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training, Marius Fransman, said on Thursday that while South Africa had 23 universities in the country, these two provinces did not have any since the new dispensation and new provincial borders.

"Nzaminde, together with his new department has been tasked to look at the matter. He has already responded positively to broaden the base of education and the Portfolio Committee aims to start working on this matter," Fransman said.

He said the provincial education departments and other stake holders would be engaged to explore the skills needs and how best to phase in a university for each province.

"We need to establish how many students at present have to use facilities in other provinces and how many potential candidates will study in their own provinces once universities have been established there.

"We also need an indication of the number of students at present using distance learning, we want an idea of which courses, chairs or faculties are needed in these rural provinces and which ones will be of priority should universities be incrementally developed," Fransman said.

He added that with the establishment of a new department, it had become a priority for the committee as part of its oversight role to revisit this long outstanding issue of no universities in two provinces and to investigate it once more.

"We see it as part of President Jacob Zuma's call to capacitate provinces to meet the needs of rural areas," he said.