Issues With NSFAS Allowances Are Being Seen To
The Department of Higher Education and NSFAS recognises the challenges students face with NSFAS allowances and as a way to solve them, is having the Deputy Minister bring representatives with him during his tours to Universities and Colleges to directly deal with the challenges.
Students have said that they are struggling and not seeing promises of laptops and allowances being delivered. The Deputy Minister of Higher Education walked into a bunch of questions and complaints as he continues his visits to Colleges and Universities.
At Port Elizabeth TVET College, Ms Vuyokazi Mafilika stated that NSFAS has improved the payments and processses especially during the 2020 academic period and that they have been consistent in paying every month on the 25th. However, students at the College have said that they haven’t received allowances for months.
The Deputy Minister recognised these challenges and said “ there are still colleges faced with challenges and some students who have not been paid their allowances, and that is why we included NSFAS representatives on this visit to directly deal with those challenges.”
At the College, a shortage of resources such as laptops, data and training student leaders to respond to Covid-19 appropriately were spoken on. Lecturers also said they have an increase on their workload because of other staff being at home and not able to operate like they normally would.
During his visit to Port Elizabeth TVET College to check whether the campus was ready to welcome students back, Manamela spoke on where they stand with giving students laptops and that they are busy getting and will complete their distribution soon.
SRC president Siphosihle Mthi at PE TVET College said that the Department needs to look at the College campuses’ infrastructures and improve them so that they are suitable learning environments.
Mthi said, “Some of the other campuses’ infrastructure is old and needs a revamp, we have workshops that are not fully capacitated and do not afford the students the opportunity to do their practical work and be able to invent something”.
The College is also said to have a shortage when it comes to staff who can teach and that this shortage has become worse due to the pandemic and staff having to stay at home. On this, Mthi explained that, “The hiring of staff should be fast-tracked so students have time to prepare and are given the opportunity to progress without any hiccups”.
“We believe that in order for us to save the academic year, the people who need to be resourced are lecturers,” Manamela said.
The Deputy Minister visited Nelson Mandela University to assess and monitor state of readiness for the return of staff and students to campus as well and ensured attendees that saving lives is the main objective and priority of the department.
On his visit to Nelson Mandela University, he said he was happy with the lengths that colleges and universities had gone to to make sure the proper safety and protective measures were in place.
The Nelson Mandela university has put up plans to receive students back to campus safely and support the academic programmes with various methods to ensure the safety of students and staff.
He also saw NMU’s innovation centre where sanitizer are produced and was taken through the process of production.
On the early recess which Government decided on in March, “the intention was primarily to save lives but also to give us time to reflect on what exactly it is that we dealing with” and to plan for resources for the eventual return, said Manamela.
That time, he said they thought the break was only for two weeks but due to the virus spreading to what it is now, everything had to be taken into consideration but the Department primarily dedicated themselves to saving lives.
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