graduate thumb100 BusinessLive reports that the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology wants to ensure that universities receive all the necessary support to recruit, develop and retain academic staff.  

The academic skills shortage in SA remains a major problem.  Universities have, in recent years, haemorrhaged highly qualified lecturers, especially during the often violent Fees Must Fall protests.  This has left vacancies in some crucial departments, such as health sciences, engineering, and information systems — which offer key degrees needed to address the skills deficit often seen as the biggest constraint to business growth.  The government is also concerned about the shortage of black academics.  In a written response to a parliamentary question this week, higher education minister Blade Nzimande said the appointment and retention of personnel at universities was the responsibility of each institution.  However, the department intended to support universities to recruit, develop and retain academic staff.  Nzimande said the department would upscale specific programmes meant to boost the number of academics as funding become available.  In his reply, Nzimande specifically referred to plans in place to retain the services and skills of academics, including academics who have reached retirement age.

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