The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande has announed the launch of new tertiary funding for students. This fund aims to ensure that more students are given the opportunity to pursue their tertiary studies.
At an address on 14 December 2021, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande announced the launch of the new tertiary funding programme called the Insurance Sector Education And Training Authority (INSETA) Student Fund Launch Programme, which aims to fund students in the Post School Education and Training Sector (PSET).
Nzimande says that this funding is part of the many programmes that will ensure that disadvantaged students can pursue their tertiary studies.
It also aims to contribute towards relieving the economic burden of unemployment, poverty and inequality and address the key aspects of the Economic Reconstruction & Recovery Plan (ERRP).
He says that this Insurance Sector Student Fund (ISSF) programme supplements the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Bursary Scheme, which aims to fund academically-deserving students from disadvantaged and working-class backgrounds who plan to study at TVET colleges and public universities.
Nzimande says that he is pleased with the launch of this funding stating that the launch responds to the process that he has initiated, as directed by Cabinet, to review the student funding policy.
He says that progress has been made when it comes to developing a comprehensive review of the student funding policy and that soon a report will be given to Cabinet regarding this.
Parliament approved R41.5 billion under the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the 2020/21 financial year. This amount excluded the R6.4billion additional budget approved.
However, Nzimande says that despite the billions that have been secured for student funding, this is less than the actual requirement of student funding. He says that the ISSF will respond to the direct need of additional funding for students.
“I am pleased that your contribution will particularly focus on funding for the scarce and critical skills within the Insurance and Related Services Sectors,” says the Minister.
The funding is intended to increase opportunities for students who plan to pursue studies at universities, TVET colleges and international academic institutions which offer specialised insurance related programmes.
The Fund will include a full bursary which will also provide a support programme which includes mentorship, student career pathing support and coaching.
In order to qualify for the ISSF project students must be academically excelling and can be from the missing middle student cohort, the employed workforce and SMMEs identified by the sector.
Beneficiaries of the fund include all racial groups who come from a financially challenged background, although there will be a bias towards those disadvantaged through past apartheid and other economic policies.
The Fund plans to increase the possibility of students finding employment as well as support sustainable businesses for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) within the sector.
Nzimande says the funding came at a time when students need it most as the country battles with the Covid-19 pandemic, stating:
The establishment of such a Fund could not have come at an opportune time with the COVID-19 pandemic having disrupted the educational system and thereby negatively affecting the economy, including transition to work by students and trainees.
The Minister has thanked the Insurance Sector for having partnered with the government to launch the ISSF project which will increase funding for students in South Africa.
Read the full address by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande on the launch of the Insurance Sector Education And Training Authority (INSETA) Student Fund, by clicking here.
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