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Concerns after Higher Education Department gets R10bn budget cut

National Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande told Parliament the department is doing whatever it can to make sure no student is left behind as institutions adjust to the new learning programmes during the pandemic.

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande addressing a media briefing on further measures implemented on COVID-19 within the Higher Education, Science and Innovation sectors, on 7 July 2020. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties are unhappy with cuts to the Higher Education Department’s budget as a result of COVID-19.

National Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande told Parliament the department was doing all it could to make sure no student was left behind as institutions adjust to the new learning programmes during the pandemic.

Nzimande said the department’s appropriations have been revised in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“R2.1 billion form the state subsidy and transfer has been reprioritised as a COVID-19 response mechanism for universities.”

The department's budget has been cut by about R10 billion.

The Democratic Alliance's Belinda Bozzoli raised concerns around the budget cuts to universities, saying vice chancellors will be meeting this week to discuss the matter.

“University subsidy has been cut by a substantial amount of R2.5 billion. This subsidy is used to pay for staff salaries, running costs, student costs and research expenses.”

Universities have now been allocated just over R79 billion and TVET colleges R13 billion while R300 million has been dedicated to skills development. Community education has been given R2.5 billion.

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