Sizwe Nxasana’s decision to step down as chairman and member of the board of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) suggests that there is a serious crisis at the multibillion-rand scheme, say observers in the higher education sector. Nxasana, a seasoned corporate executive, announced on Thursday he was stepping down after three years at the helm of the institution. Ahmed Bawa, CEO of Universities SA, said there was a realisation now that the need existed for a different kind of financial aid institution "which is much more effective and more connected to the process of applications and admissions in universities. A new structure." "Mr Sizwe Nxasana as chair of the NSFAS board, brought an important business-like edge and innovation. The problem is that NSFAS was never designed to meet its targets. Demonstrations have been going on at our universities for more than 15 years driven primarily by financial aid issues," Bawa said. NSFAS has been struggling to ensure the smooth...

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