By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA – The Free State government has scrapped the international students financing programme which was introduced by former premier Ace Magashule.
This was disclosed by Premier Mxolisi Dukwana’s spokesperson, Sello Dithebe, during the launch of multimillion-rand gateway project earlier this month.
Dithebe said the decision was reached after Dukwana’s meeting with the University of the Free State Vice Chancellor Prof Francis Peterson and Principal of the university Prof Nicholas Pearce.
During the discussions, according to Dithebe, a decision was made to review the programme which includes medical students, to find a way to assist them to get their qualifications recognized in the country.
About 64 students were sent to study in abroad to acquire international skills, 46 in Russia while 10 in Turkey, seven in China while one studied in United States of America.
Explaining the reasons that led to the reviewing of the project, Dithebe said students are obliged to undergo a preparatory programme facilitated by Health Professions of South Africa – a body that regulates membership of people who finally become doctors.
“They do have the minimum requirements for them to start a preparatory programme which will then take them to the next level of writing the board examination up to the point where they can qualify as doctors.
“There are a number of courses that are specially prepared for students who studied abroad. One example is the profile of diseases that they deal with when they study abroad, which is not the same as the one we have in South Africa.”
FS Premier spokesperson Sello Dithebe.
Meanwhile the previous government led by former Premier Sefora Ntombela had also announced its decision to scrap the international programme in a cost cutting measure.
This was also disclosed by Free State Finance MEC, Gadija Brown, when tabling her 2021/22 adjustment budget.
She explained where they had managed to save off money from the programme, reprioritizing those saved funds.
“An amount of R51.4 million is reprioritized from the provincial bursary programme as a result of savings from the international bursary programme as some of those international students concluded their studies.