Image via: @Stimoroller Twitter

‘Universities brace for over 200 000 new entrants,’ says Blade Nzimande

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande held a media briefing focusing on the availability of spaces and opportunities at universities and colleges.


Image via: @Stimoroller Twitter

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Blade Nzimande says 26 universities across the country are ready to accept over 200 000 new entrants in 2020. 

This comes after Nzimande held a media briefing on Thursday 16 January 2020 in Pretoria to discuss the implications of matric results on the Post School Education sector.

The media briefing focused mainly on the availability of spaces and opportunities at universities and colleges.

The highlight was when Nzimande announced that all National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) qualifying students are no longer required to pay registration fees.

Overall matric pass rates 

The 2019 NSC overall pass rate, with the progressed learner included, stands at a new record of 81.3% –  a 3.1 percentage point improvement from the 78.2% achieved in 2018.

Further analysis of the 2019 NSC examinations results show that the number of candidates with bachelor passes is 186 058.

  • • The number of candidates, who passed with a diploma pass is 144 672.
  • • The number of candidates who passed with Higher Certificate entry is 78 984. 

“I also would like to equally urge all learners who have not passed their matric not to despair, but instead to explore and consider other options, including the Second Chance Matrics Support Programme and other post-school education and training opportunities,” said Nzimande. 

“It is important to realise that entrance requirement into university studies is linked to academic achievements in the National Senior Certificate (NSC),” he added. 

Universities ready for matriculants  

According to Nzimande, 26 public universities will provide access to approximately 201 042 new entrants wishing to pursue their studies across all general, technical and professional fields including; Business and Management Science, Engineering, Agriculture, Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences. 

In 2020, of the 201 042 new entrants, approximately 66 764 students will be enrolling in these areas:

  • 16 152 in Engineering programmes;
  • 16 948 in Life and Physical Sciences;
  • 10 912 in Human and Animal Health programmes of which;
  • 906 in Animal Sciences programmes;
  • 9 796 in Human Health programmes;
  • 210 in Veterinary Sciences 
  • And 22 752 in initial Teacher Education. 

Universities requested not to over-enrol students 

Universities have been requested not to over-enrol in 2020 to ensure the appropriate infrastructure and human resources for the numbers of students in the system, the quality of teaching and learning and the sustainability of the university system.

NSFAS has received a record-breaking number of applications by the closing date of 30 November 2019.

More than 543 268 first-time-ever applications (prior year 428 929) were received from applicants across the country, with the majority of the applicants submitting applications online via the myNSFAS portal.

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) also made their facilities available for NSFAS applicants to submit both online and manual applications, as well as for the submission of supporting documents.

NSFAS to provide supplementary content to school pupils 

NSFAS has launched a project in partnership with the Department of Basic Education that aims to provide supplementary NSFAS content to Grade 9 to Grade 12 pupils while they are still at school.

“Our outreach program continually shows a relatively high number of learners know very little about NSFAS. Hence our focus is strengthening and expanding the outreach programme,” said Nzimande. 

Nzimande said that just under 50% of applications have been received from social grant beneficiaries. The personal details and social welfare status of all applications have been validated with the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Social Development.

“For the first time ever, NSFAS students are declared eligible before registration, thus eliminating hurdles for free registration by those accepted at institutions,” he added. 

The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) returning students are still to be processed later in the month, as NSFAS is working with the TVET college principals to determine whether they meet the criteria for academic progression.

Department looks at large-scale student housing projects

Through the Student Housing Infrastructure Programme (SHIP) of the Department of Higher Education and Training, we aim to develop large-scale student housing projects at universities and TVET colleges in the coming years.

The goal of SHIP is to provide 300 000 new beds at the 26 public universities and 50 public TVET colleges over the next 10 years.

From 2020/2021 onwards, the Student Housing Infrastructure Programme Management Office will prepare a pipeline of projects each year, funded by both the public and private sectors to unlock the investment required for the programme.

“I, however, would like to call upon those private providers of student accommodation not to exploit students through exorbitant rent,” said Nzimande. 

“I intend convening a meeting in the coming weeks with some of the major private providers of student accommodation to discuss these and other related matters on the quality and safety of such accommodation,” he added. 

Students left stranded after matriculating 

Prospective first-time entry students who have applied for spaces in a university but have not been able to secure a space in their institution of choice will be referred to the Central Applications Clearing House (CACH) for assistance in finding another space available in the Post-School Education and Training (PSET) system. 

Students who did not apply to an institution can also utilise CACH for a referral to potential spaces.

“In 2020 there are a total of 135 Private Higher Education Institutions (PHEIs) registered with the Department offering higher education and vocational programmes, across diverse fields of study,” added Nzimande.