Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

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

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Guest Author

Related stories


Subscribers only

‘W Cape, fix unplaced pupils crisis’

Civil rights organisations want the department to find a permanent solution to the problem

Shanduka shade over Free State education

Audit firm PwC said R500-million irregular expenditure incurred by the Free State education department is related to an unsolicited bid by the Kagiso Shanduka Trust to improve schools

More top stories

Even religion has limits on its rights

The constitution does protect faith — but not beyond what is reasonable

Covid kills a decade of employment growth in SA

The self-employed were nearly three times less likely to work during the hard lockdown, economists found

Ramaphosa faction dividing Limpopo — NEC hears

In a leaked recording during Saturday’s ANC national executive committee meeting, Mathabatha said he has observed ‘comrades who run around purporting to be the defenders of our president’.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…