Students at the Universities of Fort Hare and Stellenbosch, Tygerberg campus, have moved in to two new on-campus residences. More than 1 000 new beds were handed over by student accommodation group STAG African in the past quarter.
It is estimated that over 600 000 university students will be left without adequate housing in 2017 when the new university year kicks off in February. A boom in higher education over the past two decades has resulted in a major shortfall of student accommodation across Africa, with university heads conceding that the situation has reached crisis levels. Compounding student dissatisfaction and expected to trigger further Fees Must Fall protest is an expected 6% student fee increase.
“Delivering over 1 000 new beds in the face of such a crisis may seem small, but we are happy with the momentum we have brought to tackling the shortfall and confident that we will meet our goals to deliver 50 000 beds to the value of R11-billion over the next 10 years throughout Africa,” says STAG African MD, John Schooling.
One of the biggest challenges for universities has been striking a balance between affordability and student needs; “Student living in the 21st century, especially on a continent where so many students live in remote areas, needs to offer high tech capability, access to transport and well-designed on-campus work and social spaces,” says Schooling.
Good on-campus accommodation has been proven to boost student throughput and success – particularly amongst first year students; “The likelihood of a first year student passing is increased from 60% to 80% if they stay in residence,” says Schooling. “The negative pass rate is even more staggering at previously disadvantaged universities, where it is common for six or more students to share a room, simply because there is no alternative.”
The property development and renewable energy group advocates the use of Innovative Building Technologies (IBTs), which reduce construction time and maintenance costs without compromising on key student needs. To date, the company has built two residences using these methods at Stellenbosch University’s Tygerberg campus – both delivered on time and within budget.
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021 447 1082 / 072 930 4412
On behalf of STAG African
Director: John Schooling