Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, said for the 2023 academic year, the public university sector is projected to provide 1,112,439 spaces, an additional 41,545 spaces from the previous year.
Nzimande said the increment in university spaces, from 1,070,894 in 2022, illustrates that the public university sector is steadily growing.
Citing 2021 audited data, Nzimande said 655,427 students were female and 412,428 were male.
“In the 2023 academic year, our first-time entering enrolments have been projected at 208,299 nationally. Sixty-nine thousand and sixty-nine (69,069) of these first-time entering enrolments will be within scarce skills areas,” Nzimande said.
He said the scarce skills that have been projected for first-time entering enrolments will include 17,085 Engineering, 17,584 Life and Physical Science, 985 Animal Sciences, 209 Veterinary Sciences, 10,418 Human Health, and 22,788 Teacher Education.
Nzimande was briefing media on the state of readiness for the post school education and training (PSET) sector for the 2023 academic year in Pretoria on Tuesday.
He said a considerable portion of the spaces within scarce skills areas require a National Senior Certificate (NSC) Mathematics mark of at least 60%.
As a result, he said through the Science and Innovation Department, agreements have been entered into with Provincial Departments of Education to support Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (MSTE).
“This intervention will ensure that we increase the number of learners passing Grade 12 MSTE,” Nzimande said.
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges' planned headcount enrolment for 2023 is 497,032 for the ministerial approved programmes, with an additional 59,383 headcount enrolment for programmes that are funded through other sources.
This brings the total planned TVET enrolment for the academic year 2023 to 556,415, Nzimande said.
University registration for the academic year 2023 commenced on 16 January and is expected to close on 20 February 2023.
However, Nzimande assured that several universities will allow late registrations, and advised students to continue to liaise with the universities of their choice through their communication channels.
Meanwhile, Nzimande has urged students who have applied on time for a place at all public institutions of higher learning, but have not yet been offered a place to study, to contact the Central Application Clearing House (CACH) for assistance.
CACH is a system meant to assist individuals to access university, college and skills development opportunities following unsuccessful applications before the publication of their Grade 12 results.
Nzimande announced that the system will open on 27 January 2023 and close on 31 March 2023.
“The services are available from Mondays to Friday between 8am to 6pm, and Saturday from 8am to 2pm,” Nzimande said.
The Minister highlighted another initiative introduced in the department, the Central Applications Service (CAS) system, which is central to improving data management for enrolments.
He said the system is at an advanced stage, with the department now entered the piloting stage to stress test the system.
Five universities, including the Tshwane University of Technology, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Vaal University of Technology, University of Limpopo and the University of the Western Cape, have participated in the pilot phase.
“The next piloting phase will include Rhodes University, North West University and the Central University of Technology,” Nzimande said.
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