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Dept of Education awards first ever clinical training grants for nursing

Resource type: News

UNESDA | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

In a historic move for nursing in South Africa, the Department of Education has awarded clinical training grants totalling R124-million which will benefit 4000 nursing students for their first degree.  The grants are awarded over two years (2010-2011; 211-2012) to universities and universities of technology throughout South Africa, and represent 18% of the total clinical training grant of R680-million.

The grants must be used for clinical training in initial nursing programmes, and the funds may be used for appointing teaching staff, operational costs (such as transporting nursing students), clinical teaching equipment, upgrading buildings and laboratories, and installing facilities such as computers, skills laboratories and IT. Universities will receive the 2010/11 grants only after they have submitted plans and budgets, and after these have been approved by the Minister of Higher Education and Training. The tranche for the 2011/12 grants will depend on the Department of Higher Education and Training approving progress and financial reports on the use of the 2010/11 grants.

Four UNEDSA grantees received grants:
1)     The University of Fort Hare was a new grantee, and its entire grant of R7.2-million was awarded for nursing.
2)     Another new grantee was the Tshwane University of Technology which received R4.6-million, over half (56.2%) of the total grant to the university.
3)     The University of the Western Cape, which is a large nurse training institution, received R32.9-million which was 66.2% of the total grant of R49.8-million to the institution. 
4)     The University of the Free State received R6.1-million, 14.5% of the total grant of R42.2-million.

Other institutions which received grants for nurse clinical training include first-timers Venda University and the University of Zululand (both of whose total institutional grants were awarded for nursing), the University of Johannesburg, and Vaal Technikon. Nursing grants were also given to the University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Limpopo; Nelson Mandela University; North West University; University of Pretoria, Walter Sisulu University and the University of the Witwatersrand. 

Recipients in the previous funding round were medical and dental students (MBChB; MMed; Dentistry) and students in professions allied to medicine. These programmes again received grants in this round, together with first-time grants to students of biomedical technology, radiography and emergency medical care. 

Responding to this news, UNEDSA Programme Manager, Dr Vicki Pinkney-Atkinson, said this was a major breakthrough for nursing and was evidence of transformation within the Department of Education. “Nurses are the backbone of the health system, yet we are facing a crisis as a third of our nursing workforce is nearing retirement, and younger nurses entering the profession are doing so mostly at the lower categories of nursing. These nurse clinical training grants could well be the start of turning the tide, and we applaud the Department of Education for their stopgap measure. However, we hope future funding rounds will allocate substantial funding for nursing in order to address the quality and quantity of nursing in the country.”

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