The Department of Higher Education and Training has started working on its plans to develop two new universities in South Africa.
Presenting his 2022 budget speech on Thursday (2 June), higher education minister Blade Nzimande said that his department has officially begun feasibility studies of the two new universities of Science and Innovation and a new Crime Detection University through the Infrastructure and Efficiency Grant (IEG) to the value of R6 million.
The new University of Science and Innovation is expected to focus specifically on science and innovation subjects, including STEM subjects such as:
- Data Science;
- Artificial intelligence;
- Hydrogen-powered technologies such as smart transportation and logistics systems.
The second university will focus on crime detection and fighting and is expected to be built in Hammanskraal in northern Gauteng. It is hoped that the new university will improve the quality of general and specialised South African Police Service investigations.
Nzimande said his government was also reviewing and seeking to strengthen its infrastructure development strategy for the education sector, with a special focus on student accommodation.
“The total amount currently available for investment in infrastructure projects across the 26 universities during the 2022/23 to 2023/24 MTEF period is R7.5 billion with R2.9 billion going towards student housing for the delivery of 16,858 beds across 11 universities.
“Much as this signifies further progress, it is clearly not enough, and will therefore seek partnerships with the private sector. We intend to secure some pilot agreements this year,” he said.
Nzimande said government has also spent vast amounts of money to support our youth through the TVET system, and therefore it is important that we assist them to transition to the workplace through appropriate placements.
To this extent, he said his department has established partnerships with:
- Japan/Toyota on automotive industry training.
- Germans on the dual system.
- UK to address youth unemployment.
- Huawei on ICT skills academies in 22 TVET colleges.
- SAMDRA on repair and maintenance of mobile devices.
“These agreements include the provision of training for both TVET college students as well as to give workplace exposure to TVET college lecturers, so that they teach and train in what is currently needed by industry,” he said.