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Accommodation crisis also burdens students

Oct 22 2015 17:15

Cape Town - More than 200 000 university students will be left without adequate housing when the university year kicks off in February 2016, according to John Schooling, managing director of student accommodation group STAG African.  

"With university budgets facing major constraints, student accommodation in South Africa is in a dire state. A boom in higher education has resulted in a major accommodation shortfall, with university heads conceding that the situation has reached crisis levels," he explained.

"Despite the increased allocations towards upgrading and new residences at some universities, rising maintenance costs, ageing residences and other problems have limited the growth options for student housing."

Schooling said the likelihood of first year students passing is increased from 60% to 80% if they stay in residence.

“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,” he explained.

"The problem for universities is that the cost of student accommodation is very expensive."

At the same time, he pointed out that in his experience, using green building practices can reduce the building time by 40% and the costs associated with it dramatically.

"At universities, where cost ultimately is the deciding factor, sustainable, environmentally building is an obvious economic choice," he said.

With this in mind, STAG is developing green building skills in its local areas of operation to prepare for a more environmentally aware construction sector.

“Not enough is being done at the moment to promote internal development through green skills and green jobs. We are committed to creating unique skills in the use of new technology in the green building sector and have received a lot of support from the Department of Higher Education and Training to do so,” said Schooling.

education  |  property  |  green building
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