Today's Labour News

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nsfasBL Premium reports that the government’s bursary scheme for poor students is to halt funding in 2021 for new students in a wide range of programmes, including teaching and nursing.

In a circular sent out to universities, Andile Nongogo, the CEO of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), indicated that the list of funded qualifications was being reviewed. For first-time entrants, the scheme will not fund any qualification that has the word “national” in its title; BTech qualifications; legacy two-year diplomas; bridging programmes; and Bachelor of Education (BEd) and Bachelor of Nursing Science (BCur) qualifications. The overall funding status for postgraduate qualifications was also being reconsidered, Nongogo said. The NSFAS had a budget of about R35bn in 2020, up from R32bn in the prior year. It funded 700,000 students in 2020. The latest move, however, seems to be in line with the Treasury’s indication in the medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) in October that a possible review of the NSFAS scheme was on the cards. SA has a shortage of teachers, especially in gateway subjects such as maths and science, which is seen as a key contributor to poor educational outcomes and the skills gap. The department of basic education has its own bursary programme known as Funza Lushaka, but it has largely failed to deal with the crippling teacher shortages. SA loses between 20,000 and 30,000 teachers annually, yet only produces 10,000 new teachers a year. And while the department of health offers bursaries to prospective nursing students, that is unlikely to be enough to tackle the shortages. Nurses featured prominently in the draft critical skills list released by the department of home affairs last week.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bekezela Phakathi at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

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