The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, wishes all students a healthy, fruitful, productive, safe, and peaceful academic year. The Minister confirmed that most of the universities have now completed the academic year 2020 and commencing with the academic year 2021, with Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVET) and Community Education and Training Colleges (CET) having commenced their academic year already. Minister Nzimande also reminded all learners to keep to all COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Minister Nzimande further confirmed that all our universities have agreed to ensure that the registration processes remains open for an adequate period to ensure that students are able to register and are not disadvantaged by the earlier delays in confirming funding eligibility for first-time entering students. However, these periods are different from institution to institution.

In order to fulfill the vision of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) which has a differentiated and fully-inclusive post-school system that allows South Africans to access relevant post-school education and training, Minister Nzimande released the following directions, guidelines, and frameworks:

The 2021 guidelines for the DHET Bursary Scheme for students at Public and Private Universities and 2021 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges Rules and Guidelines for administration management and awarding of bursaries to qualifying students in terms of Section 4 (b) of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) Act; The Directions on a national framework and criteria for the management of the 2021 Academic year in the public and private higher education institutions, issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act NO.57 of 2002), and; 2
The Framework and guidelines to accommodate students with disabilities into TVET colleges in order to fulfil the economic and social goals of participation in an inclusive economy and society.

Minister Nzimande also said that the department remains committed to address all immediate concerns relating to the 2021 academic year particularly in relation to the registration of students.

“We will also focus our attention into the longer term issues relating to the funding ofthe system and student funding mechanisms, in particular the need for comprehensive student funding model that will also address the issues facing self-paying students who do not meet NSFAS criteria but struggle to afford higher education (also known as “missing middle” students) and postgraduate student funding” said Minister Nzimande. Minister Nzimande said he will continue to engage all stakeholders in all processes towards achieving the Department of Higher Education and Training’s mission, that of developing a capable, well-educated and skilled citizens who are able to compete in a sustainable, diversified and knowledge-intensive international economy.

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