HESA welcomes Higher Education Budget Vote

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pretoria - Higher Education South Africa (HESA) has welcomed the Budget Vote delivered by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande in Parliament on Tuesday, saying it commits to on-going funding to enhance the capabilities and capacities of public universities.

"We specifically welcome the strategic investments to improve the performance of higher education institutions. These investments will go a long way to preserving at appropriate levels the core missions of universities thereby enabling them to build a stronger future for our society and economy," said HESA Chairperson, Professor Ahmed Bawa.

Bawa highlighted that investing in students during their time at university was a priority for the university sector and the Budget Vote speech delivered some important measures for university students.

"We welcome the Minister's [Blade Nzimande] commitment to the introduction of state-funded education up to undergraduate level for the poor. HESA welcomes the broad thrust of the Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training System," Bawa said, pledging HESA's support to any initiative aimed at providing a wider set of study opportunities for school leavers.

Welcoming the R450 million for the 2012/13 to 2013/14 funding cycle to expand university infrastructure capacity for teacher education, HESA said this investment would assist universities to grow the enrolment in initial teacher education programmes.

"HESA also welcomes the funds made available for special purposes including R50 million for post-graduate scholarships, R63 million for students with disabilities, R350 million for poor continuing students who were unable to register due to outstanding debt and insufficient funding in 2012," it said.

However, it urged the minister to find new money with a view to funding these priority initiatives on a long-term sustainable basis.

HESA, a body representing 23 public higher education institutions, also committed to continue working with Nzimande, his department and the rest of government to ensure that investment in university education remains a top level commitment into the future.