The department of higher education will focus over the next three years on increasing the number of university graduates in scarce-skill areas, according to the 2012/13 Budget tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.
Documents tabled with the budget say the department's spending focus will be on its University Education Programme, involving mainly transfers to higher education institutions and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
"Focusing spending in this way is primarily intended to increase the number of university graduates, particularly in scarce-skill areas, and to provide access to universities and colleges for poor students through the provision of loans and bursaries."
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told MPs in the National Assembly on Wednesday that spending on education will grow from R207-billion in 2012/13, to R236-billion in 2014/15.
Additional allocations of R18.8-billion over the medium term had been accommodated, including equalisation of learner subsidies for no-fee schools and expanded access to grade R, he said.