The Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) has set aside more than R32-million to fund higher education students in the chemicals sector. The money will go a long way in helping students who need funding to complete their studies.
According to CHIETA CEO Yershen Pillay, R32,4 million would be divided up between six tertiary institutions. “The project name is the Lesedi Youth Fund. Lesedi means light as we are brightening the future of the students by paying off their historical debts and providing funds towards the completion of their studies. This fund is unique in that it combines student debt support with work-integrated learning and work-place based learning thereby supporting learners across three different aspects of development,” Pillay said.
Over and above the R32,4 million in student debt support, CHIETA’s new Youth Fund will support hundreds of youth with almost R8 million in work-integrated learning and work-place based learning opportunities.
Pillay stated that the country was currently faced with a considerable number of students that fell into funding gap where they could not afford to pay for their university fees and they also did not qualify for free education from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
“The purpose of the project is to provide funding for missing middle learners who are in their final year of study. Learners will be supported for qualifications that fall within the chemicals sector and are aligned with the Skills Strategy of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.”
The institutions that would benefit include the Tshwane University of Technology, the Vaal University of Technology, the Nelson Mandela University, the Mangosuthu University of Technology, the Durban University of Technology, and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
In total, 692 students are set to benefit from the programme who were in their final year of their studies or had completed their but needed to pay their fees to receive their certificates.
“The target market is learners currently studying qualifications which fall within the chemical sector, who fall within the “missing middle” category and/or have historical debt,” CHIETA noted. Student must also be recognised by a formal South African higher institution or university of technology.”
Pillay said the institutions would select the candidates based on the contractual obligations between it and the university of technology. The funds would then be disbursed directly to the institutions with appropriate reporting expected on financing and the records of the students.
He added that a project of this nature was vital. “The South African Economic Recovery and Restructuring Plan is aimed at stimulating equitable and inclusive growth. Skills development is one of the key enablers to ensure successful implementation of ERRP,” Pillay told Vutivi News.
“Thus, the minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology has launched an opportunity risk-based approach to mitigate primarily skills development risks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”.