Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s first national budget sees the release of the first budget for the new department of Higher Education and Training.
Although announced just after last year’s general election, Minister Blade Nzimande’s department has been using the resources of the old Education Department and some staff from the Labour Department.
From April this year the Department of Higher Education will have its own staff and budget and South Africans will be looking for the Department to start to deliver.
The upcoming financial year will see R32 billion allocated to this sector of education, with R19,5 billion to universities, R3,9 billion to FET Colleges and R168 million for skills development.
The new skills development department of the DHET will spend R75 million on Seta coordination, R73 million on National Skills Development Services and R19 million on Quality Development and Promotion.
Government figures project Skills Levy income for Setas to total R6,7 billion in the coming financial year, expected to increase to R7,3 billion in the next financial year.
The same estimates project income for the National Skills Fund of R1,6 billion, rising to R1,8bn and R1,9bn in the following years.
Spending by the National Skills Fund grew at an average annual rate of 69% from R716.9 million in 2006/07 to R3.5 billion in 2009/10, driven mainly by payments for skills development projects aligned with the national skills development strategy.
Subsidies paid to universities are projected to exceed R 19,5bn in the next financial year, rising to R21bn and R23bn in the following years.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, will receive almost R2bn this year. The aid scheme assisted 130 000 students in the current financial year, rising to 140 000 in the next financial year, and 150 000 in the following.
Unisa will receive R1,7 billion in the next financial year, with the University of Pretoria receiving R1,4billion, University of KZN receiving R1,3, Tshwane University of Technology R1,3bn, Wits R1,1bn and the University of Cape Town just under R1 billion.
R5 million is going to the Council on Higher Education and R41 million to the Saqa, the qualifications authority.