Higher Education, Science and Technology Committee Begins Oversight with Visit in Northern Cape
The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology began a week of oversight visits in the Northern Cape province.
The committee has long resolved to undertake an oversight visit to the province to hold to account the departments of Higher Education and Training, and of Science and Innovation. The committee adopted this multipronged approach to the week to enable oversight over institutions of higher education and training, as well as those in the science and innovation portfolio.
The committee is committed to monitoring progress on the start of academic years and as such had a follow-up meeting on 24 January 2022 with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as well as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to seek an update of the sector’s state of readiness for the 2022 academic year.
The Sol Plaatje University Council, management, student leadership and labour unions also briefed the committee on the overall state of the institution and its state of readiness for the 2022 academic year.
The committee is committed to ensuring equality between various DHET programmes, in light of the importance of upskilling South Africans. The committee will also visit and receive briefings from the Northern Cape Rural Technical and Vocational Education and Training College and the Northern Cape Community Education and Training College on 25 January 2022.
On the second leg of the oversight visit, the committee will focus on institutions of science and innovation. This visit is largely informed by the committee’s belief in the importance of having a physically observed understanding of the department’s programmes. In light of this, the committee will visit the SKA/MeerKAT project in Carnarvon and the South African Large Telescope site in Sutherland.
In the face of some concerns about the impact of these projects on communities, the committee will also engage with the local communities in which these Department of Science and Innovation projects are located to assess their impact on social development and job creation.
The committee looks forward to interacting with the various institutions, stakeholders and community members in pursuit of achieving its oversight functions and ensuring that government services reach the people of South Africa.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.