The Higher Education Sector is facing a potential crisis if some of its ongoing issues remain unaddressed, according to experts in the sector. This is specifically tied to the rising number of student enrollments and constrained funding resources.
The nation’s higher education sector is already gearing up for the current academic year as 2023 gets started. The Higher Education Department revealed that it anticipates more than 1 million students to enroll in public universities during a meeting with other sector stakeholders.
However, stakeholders such as Universities in South Africa (Usaf), and South African Public Colleges brought attention to the problem of rising student debt, which put the operation of higher education institutions in jeopardy.
The organization also pointed out that a national intervention is required because the total debt, which is currently R16.5 billion, is out of control. Members expressed concern over this, arguing that if the model was left unchanged, the debt would only continue to rise and eventually bring the institution to its knees.
It was also questioned if the amount accurately reflected the money owed by students or whether it took into account interest that had been calculated from those who have passed on.
The South African Public Colleges Organization emphasized the sector’s challenges, which are mostly financial. These include an increase in enrollment without an equal rise in funding, difficulties with infrastructure grants, and a lack of an acceptable funding framework.
In response, the DHET stated their overall projections of enrollments in public universities stood at 1 112 439 for the 2023 academic year. First-time entering enrolments have been projected at 196 324 nationally.
Out of this, it has been predicted that 66 073 first-time entering enrolments will be in areas with scarce skills, including those listed below.
- Engineering: 17 306
- Life and Physical Science: 16 199
- Animal Sciences: 593
- Veterinary Sciences: 208
- Human Health: 9 233
- Teacher Education: 22 534
In contrast, the expected male-to-female enrollment ratio for universities in 2023 is 40:60 (40% male, 60% female), with a distance learning enrollment ratio of 35% and a residential enrollment ratio of 65%.
Meanwhile, male to female ratio for university enrolments for 2023 is predicted to be 40:60 (40% male, 60% female) 35% distance learning, and 65% at residential universities.
Demzyportal Category: University news