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The following are answers to some of the frequently asked questions received by HEDSA:


When was HEDSA formed and constituted?

HEDSA had its inaugural meeting in Cape Town in 2007 and was constituted and accepted by the Department of Social Development in 2010.


Why was HEDSA formed?

HEDSA was formed in response to higher education institutions needing to have a forum where the work regarding students with disabilities can be shared and issues pertinent to this sector can be advocated for with the relevant bodies, like our own institutions, NSFAS, Universities South Africa, DHET, etc. HEDSA therefore serves as the collective voice of disability units within the university sector and strives to share good practices of support for the students the units support. HEDSA also identifies common challenges within the sector and aims to provide strategic solutions to these shared challenges through networking and sharing and knowledge 


Who does HEDSA represent?

All higher education institutions are represented by HEDSA by virtue of their having students with disabilities in their institutions. When HEDSA does advocacy work, it is for all students in all higher education institutions (HEIs). HEDSA has added all FET, now TVETs (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) as institutions that it would like to support in this field but has not formalised this yet with those institutions. HEDSA does see this sector as important to the development of the post-school sector as delineated by the DHET and wants to work closer with them on a formal basis. Currently, informal support networks do exist with active regional participation in some provinces between HEDSA and TVETs.


When does HEDSA have its meetings?

​HEDSA meets 3 to 4 times per year and does so via tele-conferencing, video-conferencing or face-to-face meetings depending on the nature of the meeting and as decided by HEDSA exco.


When does it choose a new executive?

It chooses a new executive biennially or every second year at its  biennial symposium. The executive is nominated by members of HEDSA through a democratic voting system 


Who funds HEDSA and what does it use its funding for?

​HEDSA is an NPO registered with the Department of Social Development. It seeks its own funding and received initial funding from the Carl & Emily Fuchs Foundation. It also requests HEIs to contribute an amount of R2000 annually as membership fees (this amount is subject to change each year). HEDSA funds are not used to remunerate any exco members but  used for operational purposes to  pay for outsourced activities such as on strategic projects, the biennial conference, advocacy work and representation at key events, marketing, branding and financial auditing. 


What is HEDSA’s relationship with Universities South Africa?

​HEDSA is registered with universities South Africa as a Community of Practice and is therefore in no way funded by Universities South Africa. HEIs institutions that are registered with Universities South Africa are therefore not automatically registered with HEDSA.


Is there student representation on HEDSA?

Yes, there is student representation and a student representative is chosen at the HEDSA biennial symposium.

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