By Kwanele Dhladhla | 2022-08-05
Mbabane - Government has reduced the total number of students who will be sponsored into tertiary institutions by over 1 500.
Minister of Labour and Social Security Phila Buthelezi announced that 2 550 new applicants for both local and Southern African Development Community (SADC) region would be granted scholarships during the incoming academic year.
This reflects a decrease of 37.8 per cent when compared to the 4 100 who were awarded scholarships during the past academic year.
The actual number of students who could lose out on the scholarships opportunity stands at 1 550.
The State has insisted that there would be no further scholarships awarded beyond this figure and appeals would not be considered, unlike in past years where students who could not make it would get a second opportunity through a review of their applications.
Government’s resolution was despite the fact that candidature for the year 2021 increased by 40.08 per cent when compared with the 2020 entries. A total of 28 072 candidates sat for the 2021 Eswatini General Certificate of Secondary Education (EGCSE) examinations, while there were 19 931 candidates in 2020. “Only 2 500 students will be sponsored by government locally and 50 in the SADC region. No further scholarships will be awarded beyond this figure and no appeals will be considered,” said Buthelezi during a press briefing convened at the ministry’s offices yesterday.
Buthelezi said from the 2022-2023 pre-service tertiary education and training loan applicants, both for the SADC region and local institutions, a budget of E78 million had been allocated.
“The E78 million, which will be used to award 2 550 scholarships for first year students during the incoming year is what has been budgeted. “We want to stick to the budget in order to avoid a situation where we end up not meeting obligations such as not paying scholarships and tuition fees on time,” said Buthelezi.
The minister said they spent up to E45 000 on each student per year and E150 000 on each Liswati studying outside of the kingdom.
When asked whether the 2 500 included all tertiary institutions in the country, he said the students to be awarded would be across institutions of higher learning depending on how they performed during evaluation.
The minister went on to state that there had been changes in the priority list of courses that would be sponsored by government.
It should be mentioned that the reduction in the number students to be awarded scholarships by government comes amid an anticipated increase in the number of students who could qualify to be accepted at universities.
Statistics, which were issued by the Examinations Council of Eswatini showed that the Manzini region came out tops, attaining a credit pass rate of 33.51 per cent, followed by the Lubombo region with a credit pass rate of 33.34 per cent, while the Hhohho region accomplished a credit pass rate of 33. 22 per cent and lastly, the Shiselweni region got 31.97 per cent.
When announcing the release of the 2021 results, Minister of Education and Training, Lady Mabuza, congratulated the class of 2021 for working hard against all odds to prepare for the examination.
Following the challenges experienced by the country, the ministry had to adjust the school calendar year to make up for the lost teaching and learning time.
This adjustment, Mabuza said, led to the overlap of the 2021 school calendar year to the current year.
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