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WSU gets R183m to improve conditions

Walter Sisulu University (WSU) has received R183million in funding from the Historically Disadvantaged Institution (HDI) grant to spend over the next three years.


The multimillion-rand grant scheme was introduced by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to assist in developing historically disadvantaged universities.

WSU vice-chancellor Professor Rob Midgley said the funding would go a long way to helping management improve student living and learning conditions.

Speaking at the recent launch of the OR Tambo Region Alumni at the Mthatha campus, Midgley said, “DHET has been good to us. Our two main income streams are the government subsidy, which stands at R685-million and student fees, which stands at R712-million.

“Apart from the funding, we received a further R82-million for student residence development and another R90-million for infrastructure improvement.”

WSU spokeswoman Yonela Tukwayo said the university’s chief financial officer confirmed receipt of all three grants last month.

Tukwayo said the university would spend the DHI funds to pay for outstanding voluntary severance (retrenchment) packages, tablets for extended programme students, computers for computer labs and a Wi-Fi roll-out.

The university also plans to spend funds on staff skills development, a data management project and document management.

Midgley said facilitating and supporting the education of the enrolled 29000 students was no small feat. “We have about 3000 academic and support staff members.”

Midgley said the university had spent hundreds of millions of rands over the past two years constructing new buildings.

These include the student residential premises at Potsdam in East London, which accommodate 382 students, a health resource centre at St Elizabeth Hospital in Lusikisiki, which facilitates learning for health sciences students spread across the province and a new faculty of health sciences building at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, which boasts world-class lecture theatres and an administration block.

“We are off to a good start this year and the advancement unit, together with the bursaries office, have secured bursary funding from a number of companies.

“However, we still trail far behind in terms of income generated from fundraising,” Midgley said.

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