Government sets aside R169m for academic staff shortages

The higher education department is to set aside R169-million to address staffing shortages at South Africa’s universities, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Tuesday.

Nzimande, who presented the opening address at the 7th South African Technology Network in Durban, said details of the plan would be announced in the near future once it had been discussed with the vice-chancellors of the country’s universities. 

“The average age of academics at South African universities is about 55 years, which means if we don’t do something drastic the implications are that we will run short of academics. In some respects we are experiencing that already.” 

Nzimande said he was concerned that there were not enough people studying for their PhDs. He said the lack of people with PhDs had implications for the quality of education at universities. 

The South African Technology Network is a gathering of leaders from the country’s universities of technology (UOT), formerly known as technikons. 


Nzimande told delegates at the conference he was concerned that the UOTs were trying to become ordinary universities. 

“I am worried about mission drift,” he said. There was an absolute need for the UOTs to produce people with diplomas. 

Referring to student financing, Nzimande said communication with students about the National Student Financial Aid Scheme was critical to avoid student protests. 

“This trashing of our UOTs is a problem. You don’t burn a library because you demand a laboratory. It doesn’t make sense at all.” 

He said he did not condone the violence and had spoken to the police minister to deal firmly with student unrest. – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sapa
Guest Author

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Wits in a climate hot spot

The university says it provides a platform for multiple voices to be heard on any issue, including that of a climate denialist

Mantashe is pumping gas

The minister believes liquified petroleum gas is needed in the energy mix, but some experts are not convinced of its merits

More top stories

‘I’m no climate-change denier’

The presentation by Lars Schernikau, who works in the commodity and coal business, has provoked an outcry

Mlambo invites commentary on claims of judicial capture, again

A candidate for the Northern Cape bench lucidly explained in reply to the Gauteng Judge President that bribing a judge is a lottery you are bound to lose

Funding bombshell leaves law students in limbo

Wits sent students notices stating that they were liable for tuition, allowance and accommodation costs for 2020. The bombshell was dropped on the students in the last week of March.

Alcohol lobby’s data is wobbly

A recent report by the alcohol industry contradicting established research and should be thoroughly questioned
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…