SA's first low-cost tertiary education institution, 10-year-old Cida City Campus, is planning to spend up to R200m developing a "comprehensive" residential campus in Johannesburg, Cida's new executive director, Philip Hirschsohn, said yesterday.

Cida offers an accredited university-level Bachelor of Business Administration degree. About 800 students, all from disadvantaged backgrounds, have graduated from Cida. Of these graduates, about 80% have gained full-time employment.

Cida has a main campus in the city centre, and another, of about 8ha, in Lyndhurst, eastern Johannesburg. It is the Lyndhurst campus that Prof Hirschsohn plans to develop, although the institution has not yet begun its fundraising drive. Some operations would remain in the city centre.

The Lyndhurst campus already has a subsidised residence. While the Lyndhurst infrastructure there was "adequate" for now, the campus would become Cida's new "home" and needed more lecturing facilities and residences so that the institution could operate more like a "normal" university, Prof Hirschsohn said.

This would take between five and 10 years.

The director-general of the Department of Higher Education and Training , Mary Metcalfe, said the department recognised that the private higher education sector made a valuable contribution to SA, and that the Cida model had gained much respect. That Cida was in a position to expand and offer a more well-rounded student experience would "enhance the academic project", she said.

Prof Hirschsohn has said he joined Cida because be believed a business education should help students stepping from a working- class background into "the world of work".

blaines@bdfm.co.za