30 October 2019

Student accommodation group STAG African is
progressing the development of the largest student housing project ever
undertaken by a South African public university, at the University of Fort Hare
(UFH), in the Eastern Cape.

The project is being funded by the Department of
Higher Education and Training, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the
European Union.

Phase 2 of the project is valued at R400-million
and is scheduled for completion in October 2020. Phase 1 was completed in 2014
and added 610 beds to the university’s offering, while Phase 2 will bring the
total beds available to 2 047.

The new residences will help ease the housing
crisis at the university and create a student community that is conducive to
academic success. The housing project includes a student centre and dedicated
postgraduate accommodation block.

“Lack of accommodation is one of the biggest
challenges we face at the UFH. Most of our students come from rural areas and
do not have accommodation options when they arrive here. Currently, our
residences are barely able to accommodate 50% of our student population on our
Alice campus.

“Our aim with this project is to house 65% of our
students on this campus,” says UFH vice-chancellor Professor Sakhela Buhlungu.

Government earlier this year acknowledged that an
additional 300 000 beds are needed to accommodate the nation’s students.

STAG states that students who live on campus have a
25% greater chance of passing than students who are not residents on campus.

STAG is also developing 34 000 beds at universities in Kenya, 4 700 beds in Malawi, 5 400 beds in Zambia and 3 000 beds in Lesotho.

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