Over R11 billion has been invested in infrastructure projects across the country’s 26 public universities from 2020/21 to 2022/23.
Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, on Wednesday said over R11.486 billion has been invested in infrastructure projects.
Speaking during a visit at Imbali Education and Innovation Precinct (IEIP), Nzimande said the department intends to partner with the private sector to boost investment in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector infrastructure.
"I have restructured and streamlined infrastructure management within my department and I appointed a Ministerial Advisory Team (MACI) on Post School Education and Training (PSET) infrastructure, as well as established, working together with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), an Infrastructure Project Management Office, with a particular focus on student accommodation.
"We will also mobilise investment from, and establish partnerships with the private sector in order to accelerate provision of student accommodation in particular, within the framework of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Committee, "Nzimande said.
Nzimande said in March 2020, the department invested a further R496 million in student housing and other types of university infrastructure in historically disadvantaged institutions, and they intend to grow investment in this regard.
TVET lecturer training institute
The Minister emphasised that the department’s focus is not only on infrastructure, but also on lecturer training, scarce skills and curriculum development.
He said the work for the establishment of a TVET lecturer training institute in Gauteng has begun, and it is gaining momentum.
"The establishment of new TVET lecturer qualifications and the development of associated programmes, and their offering by universities is also well underway," Nzimande said.
Staffing South Africa’s Universities Framework
He announced that the department is forging ahead with the implementation of the Staffing South Africa’s Universities Framework (SSAUF), which is one of the department’s responsive mechanisms to ensure the continuous development of personnel at university level.
SSAUF is intended to support universities to recruit, develop and retain academic staff.
"All five sub-programmes of the Staffing South Africa’s Universities Framework are now being implemented, including the Nurturing Emerging Scholars Programme, the New Generation of Academics Programme, the University Staff Doctoral Programme, the Future Professors Programme and the Higher Education Leadership and Management Programme.
"The targets set by universities in response to scarce skills enrolment plans are another milestone we achieved to ensure that we produce the skills that our economy needs," the Minister said.