Higher Education may face serious funding challenges: Commission

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The Financial and Fiscal Commission says the Department of Higher Education is likely to face serious funding challenges for students in tertiary institutions.

The number one cause of this projected lack of funding is due to the implementation of the free higher education approach.

The commission was briefing Parliament on the overview funding of the department over the next coming years.

In 2017, former President Jacob Zuma announced that free higher education would be provided for to all first year students from families that earn less than R350 000 per year.

The commission’s senior researcher Shafeeqa Davids says expected budgetary reduction to the department will worsen the situation in the foreseeable future.

Davids says, “The department will continue to face financial pressures due to the continuous funding pressures to strengthen the support to eligible candidates. This pressure is two-fold for the department as they would continue to support existing learners within the system as well as funding the new entrants. In the division of revenue taken in February, it was mentioned that the department is working on a new funding model. The commission therefore would like to emphasis the urgency around this project and that it is addressed swiftly and the new approach be introduced within the financial year. ”

Board Chairperson Nombeko Mbava says in their analysis they have noted with concern constant budgetary reductions for higher education.

“In the face of potential education budget constraints-allocations to university education and TVET programmes should be protected. On the DSI (Department of Science and Innovation) side, science and innovation, specifically on the national research foundation, the scar and space agency, we see further reductions projected for 2022, 2023 and 2024. ”

VIDEO: Minister of Higher Education briefs the media on tertiary education funding: