Debate on Higher Education Budget Vote 17
By Honourable Prince MMM Zulu MP


National Assembly: Cape Town, 21st June 2011 

Honourable Chairperson

Although the new government came with the agenda of transformation, higher education in our country is still faced with many challenges. Without a doubt, universities are the key role players in this agenda to disperse the unequal academic outputs and obstacles in providing education, research and services which would later translate to desirable levels of skilled individuals.

However, preparation of students for higher education starts at senior level. It is no secret that our school system faces many problems such as poor learning environments, and the poor attitudes of teachers themselves especially in black schools has resulted in poor performance of certain schools across the country. Therefore there should be coordination to improve the quality of education and the quality of students produced.

The old South Africa had many advantages for whites, alienating non-whites, resulting in the current society where financial difficulties are experienced mostly in black communities. To address these financial imbalances the government provides financial aid, allowances and subsidized accommodation and catering for the disadvantaged students. Although these interventions increased numbers of students receiving tertiary education there is still more which can be done especially to increase expertise and for students to be educated to honours, masters and even PhD levels.

Although the National Student Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa has showed progress it is in urgent need of restructuring and capacity enhancement if it is to deliver on its mandate.

The IFP supports the preposition by the NSAFAS chairman Prof Sipho Pityana to establish a central admission clearing house to determine potential students who will qualify for financial support as in other countries, where career advice and related infrastructure will be provided to help students in making career choices.

Moreover, this will give universities the capacity to refer students to other Further Education and Training Colleges (FETs) or to programmes sponsored by the National Skills Fund or Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) if they do not qualify. In this way they will be directed accordingly rather than wasting money on students who are in the wrong field.

Research has shown that an educated nation spells progress and development. Moreover, education is a passage into a poverty free nation, hence the IFP seeks to see such a nation.

Therefore the IFP supports this budget vote.

I thank you

Prince MMM Zulu