MINISTER NZIMANDE STATEMENT ON THE CELEBRATION OF WOMENS DAY IN THE POST SCHOOL EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND INNOVATION SECTORS A JOYOUS WOMENS DAY
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, wishes all women in the Post School, Science and Innovation sector and South Africa in general a joyous Women’s Day celebration.
In celebrating Women’s Day, Minister Nzimande echoed the words of, President Oliver Tambo on South Africa`s year of the women, when he said one of the fundamental tasks that the process of national liberation confronts is the liberation of the women of our country from their triple oppression on the grounds of sex, class and colour.
“Indeed South Africa can never bet truly free unless its women are free. Man can never enjoy any freedoms whilst women are being raped, subjected to domestic and other forms of voilence and abuse,” said Minister Nzimande.
In marking the beginning of the August month, a month dedicated to celebrate women, the Post School Education and Training sector published the Policy Framework aimed at combating the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) pandemic within the Post School Education and Training sector, which includes Universities, TVET Colleges and Community Education and Training (CET) sectors.
The framework also was aimed at challenging patriarchal practices in the South African society in general.
The Framework creates an enabling environment for the eradication of GBV and instill respect, protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights as enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
The report of the Ministerial Task Team on the Recruitment, Retention and Progression of Black South African Academics has concluded its work, and it has submitted its report which has been released to the public. This report and its recommendations also points to important interventions that needs to be made in order to address gender equality in South African Academia.
Both my departments have started to collaborate on a joint plan that responds to the recommendations of this report.
The Staffing South Africa’s Universities Framework is one of the responsive mechanisms that we will take forward with increased vigour.
All five sub-programmes of the Staffing South Africa’s Universities Framework are now being implemented, including the Nurturing Emerging Scholars Programme, the New Generation of Academics Programme, the University Staff Doctoral Programme, the Future Professors Programme and the Higher Education Leadership and Management Programme. Transformation of gender relations are also at the centre of these interventions.
These programmes are already contributing to staff transformation in the university sector, and as we increase their scale of implementation their impact will also increase.
I have appointed a Ministerial Task Team on the remuneration of Vice-Chancellors and Senior Executives. The team will submit the research work undertaken and the findings by 31 March 2021.
“I remain concerned about the gender transformation at the Vice Chancellors level as we only have four (4) out of the twenty-six (26) universities we have in South Africa. We however have many female Deputy Vice Chancellors,” said Minister Nzimande.
The Technical and Vocational Training Colleges has seventeen (17) female principals of which four (4) are on an acting capacity. This is a significant progress compared to the university sector.
The DSI also provides training to indigenous knowledge practitioners and bioentrepreneurs for employment preservation and creation. This is benefitting more than 70 entities, with the focus on rural cooperatives and women and youth-owned entities.
“61% of pipeline honours and masters students who were supported with bursaries in a total of 8 632 were women. At the doctoral level 50% of women black students were supported respectively,” said Minister Nzimande.
The Department is finalising a new Postgraduate Funding Policy that caters for full-cost funding for financially needy students, particularly those who have been receiving National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding at undergraduate level and who are academically deserving.
“The Department will then review the Ministerial Guidelines on achieving equity in the distribution of bursaries to monitor the new targets it will have set for funding financially needy students, in addition to the set targets for race, gender, and nationality of funded students,” emphasised the Minister.
As of the end of the 2018/19 financial year, a total 562 Thuthuka grant-holders 359 or 64% were females. 62% females were also supported through Thuthuka grant-holder-linked bursaries.
The NRF complements the New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) an initiative of the Department of Higher Education and Training which is aimed at renewing and changing the gender and race profile of the academic and teaching workforce.
A total of 467 nGAP post-holders spanning five annual cohorts had been allocated by 2019. The DSI provides research development grant funding to nGAP post-holders who are studying for their PhDs and beyond.
“Across all our funding instruments, through the NRF, we increased female representation from 39% to 45% in 2018/2019the same period. While there has been a gradual increase, we are going to put more effort to transform the country’s researcher workforce and we remains committed to realising this goal,” said Minister Nzimande.
“Indeed demonstrable gender equity targets and programmes are at the centre of the the work of my Ministry and its two departments”, Minister Nzimande concluded.