Students from various institutions across the country have been battling and protesting about the same issue for years. This includes the distribution of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s (NSFAS) student accommodation allowances.
Since the start of the year, students have called on NSFAS to implement a better policy and structure for student accommodation to ensure that students are placed in safe and adequate living spaces.
Students have also been protesting for improved structures for the distribution of student living allowances and the paying of landlords.
During his briefing on the 2023 NSFAS application process, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande announced that in the 2023 academic year, the scheme plans to roll out a new student accommodation portal.
The portal will ensure efficiency in areas such as grading and accreditation of accommodation, paying of accommodation providers and increase student accommodation capacity.
Nzimande says the intervention follows after NSFAS board and management conducted site visits to various Universities and TVET colleges across the country to witness first-hand the issues regarding accommodation.
Some of the issues that were found, include, insufficient beds to accommodate students, both private and institution-owned accommodation not conducive for student accommodation and learning, and private accommodation providers not properly regulated.
It was evident from those visits that the allocation of student accommodation for NSFAS beneficiaries has to be streamlined and centralised,
Nzimande said that the process to increase the capacity of accreditation providers is underway.