Nzimande says there are now 104000 more varsity places
AN EXTRA 104000 places will this year be available for matriculants in various "learning opportunities" at tertiary institutions.
This was said by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande as long queues were forming at universities across the country.
Nzimande said last year less than 185000 matriculants had been able to enroll at universities, FET colleges, in short skills programmes or learnerships.
He said he had increased the number of "learning opportunities" this year to just more than 288000.
About 16000 more students than last year qualified to enter university. It is not clear if there is enough space for them in the country's universities.
Nzimande said those who met the requirements for admission to university should consider training as artisans, joining the army, getting a job in the Expanded Public Works Programme or "even taking a gap year".
Nzimande also explained the funding for final-year undergraduate students announced by President Jacob Zuma on Saturday at the ANC's 99th anniversary celebrations in Polokwane.
Students who qualified for financial assistance from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme would see the loan portion of their final year studies converted to a bursary, which would not have to be repaid if they graduated.
"This model will be phased in over the next few years to include students in earlier years of studies," he said, adding that NSFAS covered on average only 40percent of poor students' needs.
The University of Johannesburg Kingsway Campus in Auckland Park was flooded yesterday as thousands of first-year students lined up at admission enquiries.
Registrar Marie Muller said the university had received 63400 applications for 2011 first-year undergraduate studies in 2010 and conditionally admitted 17500 of them.
She said the university could only accept 48000 this year and this included all undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The Tshwane University of Technology and University of Pretoria was a different story. Admissions for prospective students who applied before last year's deadline are going fairly smoothly.