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University is reviewing 2016 Medium Term Budget announcement

- Wits University

Update from the Senior Executive Team (17:00):

Academic Programme 

The academic programme went ahead today without disruption. 

Incidents 

No incidents were reported on our campuses today. 

Medium Term Budget Policy Statement 

Wits is still reviewing the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) and associated documents. A quick reading indicates that with regard to higher education, the MTBPS addresses the funding needs of the poor and the missing middle that has been prioritised by the Minister of Higher Education and Training. 

The Finance Minister announced the following pertaining to higher education in his speech. He made a plea for the violence to stop and for the 2016 academic year to continue. The extracts related to higher education follow below: 

"We are especially mindful of the need to expand access to post-school education opportunities. But this is not enough: our progress rests on improvements in the entire education system. Minister Nzimande has rightly emphasised that expanded opportunities in our universities cannot rely on government funding alone. Public expenditure on post-school education and training has in fact grown considerably faster than other budget allocations in recent years, and this will continue. At the heart of the issue is that access has expanded faster than resources. As a result, many students face financial hardships that undermine their ability to succeed academically. 

In addition to the R16 billion added to higher education funding in the February budget, we therefore propose: 

  • a further R9 billion for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme over the period ahead, raising its funding by over 18 per cent a year, and
  • over R8 billion to meet the costs of fee increases for students from households with incomes up to R600 000. 

We will work with the corporate sector and financial institutions to expand bursaries, loans and work opportunities for students. In seeking a balanced, sustainable roadmap for student finance, we appreciate that graduates who go on to earn higher incomes will in due course contribute a share of these gains to the next generation." 

The Minister also committed funding for 39 000 Funza Lushaka bursaries for prospective teachers.

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