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NSFAS Still To Account For Its Budgets

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NSFAS Still To Account For Its Budgets

NSFAS Still To Account For Its Budgets. As the curtains draw on the administration of the sixth Parliament, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) finds itself under scrutiny for its budget allocations.

According to Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, chairperson of the committee, there’s a lingering opacity regarding NSFAS’s expenditure for the 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 fiscal years, leaving pertinent questions unanswered.

Delving into Budget Transparency

Mkhatshwa expressed the committee’s profound concern over the lack of clarity surrounding NSFAS’s budget utilization during these financial cycles. “We are still at a point where we don’t fully understand what the budgets of these financial years did,” she remarked. This lingering uncertainty has prompted the committee to seek avenues within Parliament to engage NSFAS and resolve this pressing issue.

The Quest for Resolution

With committee meetings scheduled to cease imminently, Mkhatshwa stressed the urgency of addressing this matter before the term concludes. She pledged to explore special interventions to expedite the resolution process, highlighting the imperative nature of closing this budgetary gap. The endeavor to obtain clarity on NSFAS’s financial disbursements remains paramount as the administration transitions.

Legacy Report Unveiling

Speaking at the Northlink TVET College, Tygerberg Campus, Mkhatshwa unveiled the committee’s comprehensive Legacy Report on the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The report scrutinized the successes and challenges encountered by entities such as NSFAS, universities, and TVET colleges.

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Budgetary Expansion Amidst Challenges

Despite an increase in the DHET budget from R107.3 billion in 2019/2020 to R137.5 billion for 2024/2025, challenges persist in fund disbursement, primarily attributed to NSFAS’s obligations in funding students.

The implementation of the direct payment system was initially hailed as a solution to streamline fund distribution. However, operational hurdles impeded its efficacy, prolonging the disbursement process and underscoring the imperative for streamlined implementation strategies.

Advocating for Oversight and Action

The committee emphasized the need for proactive measures to address governance concerns within NSFAS and other tertiary institutions.

Urging swift action, it recommended that the seventh Parliament prioritize oversight, particularly regarding the tenure of Professor Lourens van Staden as NSFAS board chairperson.

Additionally, advocating for the allocation of funds for the “missing middle” students and monitoring key developments within tertiary institutions were underscored as pivotal steps towards ensuring accountability and transparency.

A Call for Institutional Reflection

Mkhatshwa’s sentiments resonated with a call for introspection within the education sector, emphasizing the imperative of translating policies into tangible outcomes.

While acknowledging the government’s vision and policy frameworks, she underscored the necessity for robust implementation strategies to realize the sector’s potential.

Toward a Visionary Educational Landscape

As the education sector navigates through governance challenges and budgetary constraints, the committee’s recommendations serve as a clarion call for decisive action and unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive and accountable educational landscape.

With the baton set to pass to the seventh Parliament, the imperative for sustained oversight and proactive governance measures remains paramount.

Conclusion

AsNSFAS grapples with budgetary accountability, the clarion call for transparency and effective governance resonates as a beacon guiding the trajectory of South Africa’s educational landscape.

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