Thursday, January 27, 2011

Task team to review student accommodation challenge

Eyewitness News

Government admitted that student accommodation is a major challenge as more and more students leave their home towns to further their education.

Education officials briefed Parliament’s Higher Education and Training Portfolio Committee on the issue on Tuesday.

It said it needs R5 billion over the next three years to improve infrastructure at universities.

Acting Deputy Director-General of Universities Kirti Menon, said about 800,000 students need accommodation and some university towns are feeling the pressure.

“This is particularly evident in the cities like Johannesburg or Pretoria or Cape Town,” she said.

Menon said this is a problem faced by both developing and developed countries.

She added that a task team has been set up to review the issue and study international practices.

(Edited by Lindiwe Mlandu)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quicker student loans on the cards


17-Nov-2010 | Sapa

"The implications of this are far reaching," Qualifications Verification Services (QVS) managing director Danie Strydom said in a statement.

"It means, among other things, that student loans can be granted much quicker so that individuals can pay for tuition and buy books sooner than before," he said.

In the past, students had to obtain a letter from the university to confirm that they had registered.

This had to be presented to the bank where the student had applied for a loan.

It usually took several days for the bank to verify the authenticity of the letter before funds became available.

"By replicating the computer database of the university, the whole process can take place on-line and student registrations can be verified in seconds rather than the days that it took previously," Strydom said.

QVS's announcement had raised serious interest, and all the major banks would gather at the University of the Free State on Thursday where they would be fully briefed on the new service.

Seven universities had already subscribed to the new QVS services and would implement them soon.

Student registrations and qualification verifications currently live on the QVS system were the University of Johannesburg, Tshwane University of Technology, and the University of the Free State.

Other universities in implementation stages were the University of Stellenbosch, Durban University of Technology, and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

The new on-line service would also save the banks millions in lost revenue by informing them when students had terminated their studies, thus becoming ineligible for the reduced interest rate loans, he said.

They would also immediately have to start repaying their loans.

"Banks risk losing millions of rand every year by students absconding and not repaying their loans.

"Our new product will keep banks and other role players, such as trustees of bursary funds, up to date on the status of every student on a day-to-day basis," Strydom said.

Students would be required to give permission to have their details made known on the database and would have full access themselves to ensure that the correct information was displayed.

The system was secure and fully automated in the sense that computers, rather than human beings, did the processing.

It could also be audited to ensure that no mistakes slipped in, he said.

Students must re-pay their loans


12-Jan-2011 | Anna Majavu

THE National Student Financial Aid Scheme says students who have borrowed money must repay their loans

President Jacob Zuma announced on Saturday that, from this year on, needy final- year students who qualified for NSFAS loans would be given enough money to cover their fees and living expenses.

Students had complained in the past that their loans did not provide money for food and transport, leading many to drop out.

Zuma also said if final-year students passed, their NSFAS loans would be converted into bursaries which they would not have to repay.

Yesterday NSFAS quickly moved to put a damper on student hopes that they would all get full loans this year.

"There appears to be some confusion regarding the announcement on the status of existing and new NSFAS loans and the responsibility of students to repay their debt obligations," said NSFAS chief executive Ashley Seymour.

He said people who had borrowed from the NSFAS must start making repayments if they were now earning R2500 or more a month.

He said final year students benefiting from Zuma's new scheme would still have to repay money borrowed in their first and second years.

NSFAS spokesperson Bonny Feldman said that while NSFAS recommends that students get a maximum of R54,000 a year to cover all their costs, this decision lay with the universities.

Instellings oorval

Instellings oorval
Die Beeld
2011-01-11 23:34

Alet Rademeyer en Loren Pienaar

Teleurstelling en wanhoop het duisende studente gister by universiteite in Gauteng begroet waar hulle ure lank in lang toue gewag het om aansoek om toelating tot instellings te doen.

Baie moes hoor dat daar nie meer plekke beskikbaar is in die studierigtings wat hulle wil volg nie. Talle se punte het nie aan toelatingsvereistes voldoen nie en baie het geen idee gehad wat hulle wil studeer nie.

Die Universiteit van Johannesburg (UJ) is sover die ergste geraak met meer as 30 000 laat aansoeke wat ingestroom het.

Prof. Marie Muller, registrateur van UJ, het gesê die toename in getalle kan toegeskryf word aan die beter matriekuitslae wat kandidate vir hoër onderwys laat kwalifiseer.

Meer as 126 000 van 2010 se matrikulante het toelating tot graadstudies gekry.

Muller het ook gesê UJ word oorval deur aansoekers wat nie in 2010 toelating gekry het nie omdat hulle gr.?11-punte nie aan die toelatingsvereistes voldoen het nie.

Volgens hul gr. 12-uitslae voldoen hulle nou wel.

UJ het in 2010 meer as 63 000 aansoeke van eerstejaars gekry, terwyl daar vir net 13 000 plek is.

By die Tshwane-universiteit van Tegnologie (TUT) en Unisa se kampus is Pretoria was daar ook lang toue voornemende studente.

By TUT is van die studente later meegedeel dat hulle by ander instellings moet gaan aanklop omdat al die programme reeds gevul is.

Mnr. Nico Dietsiso (18) van Kroonstad in die Vrystaat was gistermiddag die laaste een in die UJ-ry.

Hy het gesê dit het hom sowat R1 200 aan kos, verblyf en vervoer gekos om daar te wees, terwyl hy ook vyf uur lank op ’n trein na Johannesburg was.
Me. Francis Inama van Soshanguve wou vir uitvoerende kunste by TUT inskryf. Sy moes egter hoor dat haar 32% in wiskundige gelettterdheid, 48% in Engels, 45% in verbruikerstudies en 42% in toerisme nie goed genoeg is nie.

Me. Irene Lephale (21) wou verpleegkunde of kliniese tegnologie studeer en moes hoor al die plekke is gevul.

Sy het in 2009 matriek geskryf en verlede jaar haar punte in die aanvullende eksamen verbeter. Met 59% vir lewenswetenskappe, 46% vir fisiese wetenskappe, 43% vir wiskunde en 49% vir Engels het sy gesê sy gaan haar uitslae weer probeer verbeter.

By Unisa het me. Nonhlanhla Shongwe gesê sy het al die pad van Paul Pietersburg in KwaZulu-Natal gekom in die hoop om onderwys te studeer.

Me. Doreen Gough, woordvoerder van Unisa, het gesê tussen 10% en 15% van studente wat net opdaag, moet weggewys word.

TUT het in ’n verklaring op die gevare gewys van ouers wat hul kinders universiteite toe stuur sonder dat daar vir hulle verblyf is. Van die studente bring nagte voor die universiteitshekke deur in ’n poging om toelating te kry.

Die universiteit het studente ook gewaarsku om nie enige geld of dokumente aan mense te oorhandig wat beweer hulle kan vir hulle ’n plek verseker nie.

Bleak future for late applicants at UJ

Many of the prospective students flocking to the University of Johannesburg may not get in at all, the institution. From Monday, thousands of people descended on the university, trying to secure a last minute spot in the first-year class of 2011. UJ's registrar, Professor Marie Muller, said the flurry of late applications could be attributed to the greater number of National Senior Certificate holders in Gauteng that obtained university admission in the 2010 exams, compared to last year. Muller said students were still queuing outside the university on Tuesday. Some had applied with their grade 11 results in 2010, were rejected, but fared better in their matric exams and were trying to get in on the strength of those results.

Matthews Baloyi, The Star

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

R150m financial aid boost for students

11 January 2011

South Africa has allocated an additional R150-million to its National Student Financial Aid Scheme to help tackle the backlog of scarce skills in the country.

Making the announcement in Pretoria on Monday, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said that, through the National Skills Fund, the government had set aside R22.9-million for funding 820 first-year students and R7-million for a bursary scheme targeting rural students who did exceptionally well in the 2010 Grade 12 exams.

R21-million had been set aside for 300 first-year bursaries for students with disabilities, with the balance of R99.1-million to be allocated to students who were already studying in fields of scarce skills.

Career Wise bursaries

The National Skills Fund will also be allocating R100-million Career Wise bursaries in the following categories:

* R17-million to fund 258 first-year students.
* R4-million for the Dipaleseng Special Bursary Scheme.
* R4.6-million for 67 first-year bursaries.
* R11.5-million to support 245 first-year students pursuing studies in chartered accountancy at the University of Fort Hare.

In a bid to ease access to Further Education and Training colleges and help the country to meet its needs for intermediate and technical skills, hard-working students from poor families would this year be exempted from paying academic fees.

The bursary, to be allocated to students whose parents earn a combined salary of R122 000 per annum, will cover tuition, accommodation, meals and transport costs.

However, Nzimande called on recipients to work hard, as the department will be monitoring their performances, warning that if they failed to produce good marks, the bursary would be forfeited.

"This is not a free ride, we require students to work hard," he said. "You can't continue to get a bursary if you don't deliver."

Career guidance

Nzimande also announced that his department and the South African Qualifications Authority had entered into a partnership with the SABC to provide pupils with information on career guidance.

The career information will be broadcast on all Nguni radio stations.

"Our aim is to ensure that information flows to rural schools and that no learners go to school without such information. It should be made available earlier in their schooling careers."

Pupils and ex-pupils can get advice from the career advice website or from the Career Advice Helpline on 0860 111 673. The helpline can also be contacted via SMS on 072 2045 056 or by e-mailing

Source: BuaNews

Late UJ applicants cause traffic jams

January 10 2011 at 07:05pm
IOL news students registration01

Independent Newspapers

Around 30,000 late applicants at the University of Johannesburg, mostly on its Kingsway campus, caused heavy traffic jams in the area.

About 30 000 late applicants at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), mostly on its Kingsway campus, caused heavy traffic jams in the area on Monday, Johannesburg metro police said.

“The applicants were parking on Kingsway road and this made traffic very heavy... it was severely congested,” said Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

He said traffic was affected from midday until about 5pm.

UJ's registrar, Professor Marie Muller, said the flood in late applications could be attributed to the increase in the “number of National Senior Certificate holders in Gauteng that obtained University admission in the 2010 exams”, compared to last year.

The university received 63 400 applications for 2011 first year undergraduate studies in the dedicated application period in 2010.

“The university's pre-selection is based on grade 11 results and UJ conditionally admitted 17 500 applicants.”

University spokesperson Herman Esterhuizen said some of these accepted applicants may have applied to other universities and so would not actually enrol at UJ, in which case there would be some available spaces for late applicants.

“Every late applicant that arrived today was given an application form... but some were still upset because they thought that they could arrive at the university and register. It just doesn't work like that.

“Some applicants were quite upset and had to be escorted off the campus.”

Muller said UJ may enrol 48 000 students in 2011 and this included all undergraduate and postgraduate students.

She also reminded applicants that “compliance with the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee a study place at UJ”. -