Campuses to take part in phased national scheme
There will be no special plan for vaccinating university staff and students in South Africa, the higher education minister has said.
Blade Nzimande said that “higher education institutions will be included in the countrywide government phased [vaccination] plan”. Nzimande was responding to questions from MPs in Parliament on 21 May.
South Africa is currently vaccinating citizens aged over 60. As of 25 May 700,900 people have been vaccinated, predominantly health workers. The government has been criticised by political parties and scientists for the slow roll-out.
Nzimande said that Higher Health, the national higher education health body, will communicate all vaccination information to universities.
Minister defends HE support
Nzimande also defended the government’s support to universities despite budget cuts and the R5.7 billion shortfall in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme that was covered by university subsidies and infrastructure cuts.
A review of student funding and debt as well as a policy framework on fee regulation are in the works to address “systemic challenges” in the system, Nzimande said. A task team will also look into the sustainability of block grants to universities.