Some tertiary institutions in South Africa which have been plagued by continued violent and destructive protests under the umbrella of #FeesMustfall since last year‚ will now see a major increase in the amount they receive following the announcement of the 2016 national budget.
During the presentation of the 2016 national budget in the parliament, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced a big jump of R16.3 billion in government’s higher education spend.
This should go a long way to addressing the issues of #FeesMustFall in the universities.
Out of the proposed R16.3 billion‚ R5‚7 billion is the cost of President Jacob Zuma’s promise to students that university fees will not increase. This is apparent hope for #FeesMustFall.
In addition, R10.5 billion has been mapped out in the budget to help clear the debt of the struggling National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)‚ so that students do not have to interrupt their studies because of fees.
The specified amount is expected to clear the outstanding debt of over 71‚000 students with financial constraints.
Summarily‚ government expenditure on higher education increases by 25% over the next three years — from R64 billion to R80 billion — at a high rate of 9‚1% per year.
Going by the needs stated in the National Development Plan‚ there should be a rapid increase in the number of tertiary students in South Africa from 1 million to at least 1.1 million over the next three years‚ postgraduate students should increase from 48‚300 to 56‚000, while the number of doctoral students from 2‚060 to 2‚500‚ Gordhan announced.
Gordhan explained that the additional money for mapped out for universities was mostly derived from compensation budgets‚ non-essential operational expenditure items and programmes with a history of under-spending.
University students may now face their lectures squarely as there is new hope for their #FeesMustFall campaign.