SOUTH AFRICA: Universities running out of housing

Several South African universities are struggling to find sufficient residence accommodation for students and are conceding that the situation has reached crisis levels, reports Monako Dibetle for the Mail & Guardian. They are appealing to the Department of Higher Education and Training for assistance, as they believe this problem affects students' academic performance.

South Africa has experienced a boom in higher education, with more than 740,000 students now studying at universities. Last year, former education minister Naledi Pandor said that R3.2 billion (US$0.4 billion) was earmarked for 2010-11 to 2011-12 for projects that will achieve national social and economic development goals. About 20% would be allocated to student housing.

The ministry said: "Inadequate student housing remains an obstacle to equity of access in higher education...Improved quality of student accommodation can help improve student success rates and eventual graduation rates." But while student housing projects are in the pipeline, a recent discussion forum comprising deans of students from universities in three provinces said lack of residence accommodation was "raising serious concerns".
Full report on the Mail & Guardian site