R77-million bursary fund set aside for University students with disabilities
2 Dec 2011On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), Minister for Higher Education and Training, Dr BE Nzimande, has called upon people with disabilities in the country to make use of the R77-million bursary fund that has been set aside by his department to support students with disabilities at universities.
The fund will cover their full cost of study.
South Africa has joined the family of nations by observing and celebrating this day in response to the United Nations General Assembly’s Proclamation of the 3rd December as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
“One of our seven key developmental and transformation imperatives in NSDS III (National Skills Development Strategy 111) specifically talks to issues of disability in our institutions of higher learning and training. The department is working towards the removal of barriers to persons with disabilities in all our institutions, and that refers to both attitudes towards the disabled and to the lack of resources and facilities,” Minister Nzimande said.
Following the United Nations General Assembly’s appeal to Member States to devote this day to the reflection on issues of persons with disabilities with the objective of advancing the equalisation of opportunities for this constituency, South Africa responded by declaring the period between November 3rd and December 3rd as the Disability Awareness Month.
The purpose for this period is to call on all citizens and institutions focus on raising awareness through practical actions that are intended to sensitise the nation about norms and standards that guide processes aimed at improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities.
The theme for this year is “Working together to build a better South Africa for all: Persons with Disabilities as Equal Participants in Sustainable Development”.
“The bursary fund is a step in the right direction but as a country we are still a long way from achieving our goals with regards to increasing training and skills development opportunities for people with disabilities,” the Minister said.
The department is in considering recommendations that came out of the Fotim (Foundation of Tertiary Institutions of the Northern Metropolis) Report which published the findings of the Disability in Higher Education Project early this year. The recommendations included the need to promote standards and adherence through the formulation of a National Disability and Strategy Framework for all institutions of higher learning in South Africa.
Minister Nzimande said with all the remaining challenges, he was quite happy that most of the country’s institutions of higher learning and training were continuing to pay more attention to the inclusion of students and staff with disabilities. Enquiries:
Vuyelwa Qinga (Ms)
Media Liaison Officer
Minister for Higher Education and Training
Cell: 076 883 4144
Tel: 012 312 5555 / 5538
Fax1: 0865867047 / 012 323 5618
Issued by: Department of Higher Education and Training
2 Dec 2011
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