Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) is considering enrolling 20 percent of its students from abroad in a bid to increase its revenue base as it strives to revert to its founding mandate of providing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
The Nust’s Act mandates the university to champion the teaching STEM courses, but the institution had strayed from its charter and has been churning out more graduates in the commercial field.
According to Nust’s 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s annual report, the university was restrategising to revert to its core mandate.
According to the report, a student undertaking any STEM studies spends $4 722 in consumables while non-STEM learners expenses amounted to $2 815.
The report states that more funding will be needed as Nust will be embarking on a STEM drive.
“The increase in STEM enrolment to 70 percent which carries a higher cost structure — will require new interventions in order to ensure a balanced budget.
“A drive for international student’s enrolment in the region of 20 percent is one such initiative,” reads the report.
Nust’s decision to revert to championing STEM comes two years after the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development Professor Jonathan Moyo took the university’s leadership to task for diverting from its founding mandate.
He said the university should go back to its statutory mandate of producing STEM graduates in line with the Government’s industrialisation agenda.
The Nust report notes that the university will in future increase its funding for student projects to meet international standards.
“However, overall investment per student should eventually rise to at least equal such investment in the neighbouring South African universities, which are often more than three times the Nust level of expenditure per student. This is important not to improve services to the client – the student – but also to advance the internationalisation thrust and improve university rankings,” it says.
The report also states that the university was also affected by the prevailing economic challenges resulting in it spending more than it was raising.
Nust’s revenues totalled to $40 718 636 against their expenditure of $43 373 728, resulting in a $ 2 655 092 deficit.
“As a result of a coterie of cost containment and revenue generation measures, efficiency savings are expected to eventually move university operating income to position of surplus over expenditure. Assuming full implementation of measures cited above, the university is expected to balance its annual budget and pay off it’s overdraft in the next three years,” reads the report. — @nqotshili