Statment by Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande.
I would like to congratulate all the learners from the Class of 2010 who have passed the National Senior Certificate examinations. The National Senior Certificate is the culmination of one phase of education and an entry point to opportunities and options for the future.
For those who have not performed as well as they had hoped, I urge them to not lose hope, as learning is a life-long experience. There are other options and these should be explored actively by learners. For those who do not want to repeat their matric examinations, there are alternative options available in the post-school system which I will elaborate on in this statement. I urge young people to explore their options to find the most suitable path for their needs and talents in 2011 and beyond.
In 2010, the Department of Higher Education and Training provided 184 547 learning opportunities through Further Education and Training Colleges, Universities, Learnerships and short skills programmes. 364 513 learners of the Class of 2010 achieved their National Senior Certificate. This highlights the extent of the challenge facing us in providing learning or work opportunities for all the new matriculants.
I am pleased to announce that the number of learning opportunities in 2011 will increase by a further 103 940 bringing the total opportunities to be created in 2011 to 288 487. This represents a significant increase of 56% when compared to 2010. It is envisaged that this will make a significant indent on the number of students who have achieved a matric and can now take advantage of learning opportunities.
This government is determined to provide education, training and skills development opportunities for all post-school youth. Projects of the National Skills Fund and the National Skills Development Strategy 3 that I will be unveiling later this week will contribute to addressing this matter. Young people who are not in employment, education or training are also encouraged to consider the opportunities created through the Expanded Public Works Programme, the National Youth Service and the SA National Defence Force. We know that we have to provide for every young person who requires either employment, education or training opportunities.
The number of learners who have passed and met the minimum requirements for admission to Bachelor degree studies has increased to 126 371 in 2010 from 109 697 in 2009. This means that 23.5% of those who wrote matric in 2010 passed and met the minimum requirements for admission to Bachelor degree studies when compared to 19.9% in 2009, an increase of 18,1%.
While we recognise that many of these students will enter university, there are also other options for them which may include training as artisans at FET Colleges or registering for learnerships through the SETA system, participating in the National Skills Fund programmes, joining the South African National Defence Force as part of its Military Development Programme, participating in the Expanded Public Works Programme or even taking a gap year before deciding on what to do next.
The admissions processes of our public institutions and the allocation of opportunities by SETAs and the National Skills Fund have been on full alert to respond to the demand for post school education and training. The Department is working closely with the universities and colleges to ensure that every student has a fair chance of access in order to pursue their dreams.
Our Country Needs Skills
The post-school system responds to the need for skills in the country and the following broad areas have been identified as critical areas for further study at either university or college level:
· Engineering Sciences;
· Animal and Human Health Sciences;
· Natural and Physical Sciences; and
· Teacher Education.
There are also many other opportunities for study in the social sciences, humanities, business studies, information technology and other areas. There is particularly a strong need in our country for artisans and technicians in a variety of areas.
The public post-school system provides a variety of pathways for study in all these areas which I will now talk about.
Learners who have passed the National Senior Certificate examinations with ‘Admission to Bachelor’s Degree’ are eligible to enter any university for an under-graduate course of study, but this will be dependent on each university’s admission requirements. Learners with passes allowing for admission to Diploma or Certificate studies quality for entry into programmes which are offered mainly at Comprehensive Universities or Universities of Technology. For further information on these options, learners can contact the call centre on 0800 872 222 or review the options on the Career Advice website at www.careerhelp.org.za. Information can also be obtained at individual universities.
Public Further Education and Training Colleges
There are 50 Further Education and Training Colleges spread across all provinces of South Africa comprising of over 240 campuses or teaching sites. Public FET colleges offer vocational training courses and qualifications at various levels of study for learners who have a Grade 9 pass/certificate, an NQF level 1 qualification or a Grade 12 certificate.
College students may enroll for a National Certificate (Vocational) or NCV in the following areas:
· Economics and Accounting;
· Office Administration;
· Safety in Society;
· Education and Management;
· Primary Agriculture;
· Engineering and Related Design;
· Civil Engineering and Building Construction;
· Drawing Office Practice, Process and Operations;
· Process Instrumentation;
· Electrical Infrastructure Construction; and
· Information Technology & Computer Science.
FET Colleges also offer courses (the NATED or ‘N’ Courses) which, combined with practical work, lead to a qualification as an artisan in a wide variety of desperately needed skills. Examples include trades such as plumber, electrician, motor mechanic, fitter and turner, carpenter, boilermaker, welder and many others. Not every college offers all the possible courses and so more information should be sought from the colleges themselves.
Learners who require additional information on the offerings of Public FET colleges and the location of FET college campuses across the country should contact the Department of Higher Education and Training call centre on 080 087 2222 or (012) 312 5878. They can also get information on the Career Advice website (www.careerhelp.org.za) where contact details and addresses of colleges and other FET college information is available.
Learners can register at FET colleges at different times during the year, as some courses are offered on a semester or trimester basis. The first registration period for 2011 is during January.
This past Saturday, in his January 8 statement, President Jacob Zuma, gave an indication of the approach that will be adopted by this administration in implementing the resolution of the ANC 52 National Conference to gradually introduce free education for the poor to undergraduate level. Starting from the 2011 academic year, those students who qualify for assistance from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will receive an award to cover the cost of their studies. Final year students will be offered the additional incentive of the award for the final year being converted to a full bursary if they complete all the requirements for graduation in the same year. This will encourage final year students to focus on their studies. This model will be phased in over the next few years to include students in earlier years of study. The precise criteria under which the awards will be made will be communicated to the universities in the next few weeks.
In another important development, indeed path-breaking development from 2011, students in FET Colleges who qualify for financial aid will be exempted completely from paying academic fees. This ought to further ease access to the colleges for students from poor families as well as help the country to meet its needs for intermediate and technical skills.
The Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme of the Department of Basic Education, which is administered by the NSFAS, offers full cost bursaries to capable young people who are interested in serving the country as teachers in priority subjects and phases, particularly in rural and poor schools.
In 2011 the scheme will support approximately 8 500 new and continuing student teachers across all years of study. Approximately 900 bursaries will be available for first time entrants in 2011.
From 2011 onwards, practicing school teachers will also be offered enhancement development opportunities to improve their knowledge and teaching practices through short courses and qualification programmes offered by universities, NGOs and private providers.
We have also started a process of consolidating all sources of bursary and loans under the banner of NFSAS. NSFAS will be getting the following additional allocations totaling R 150 million from National Skills Fund focusing on addressing scarce skills:
· R 22.9 million that is dedicated to funding 820 first year students;
· R 7 million towards a special bursary scheme that targets rural students who have done exceptionally well in the 2010 Grade 12 examinations;
· R 21 million for 300 first year bursaries for people with disabilities. My Department is committed to promoting access to tertiary education for people with disabilities; and
· The balance of R 99.1 million will be for students who are already studying in these fields.
The NSF will also be allocating R 100 million Career Wise bursaries in the following categories:
· R 17 million to fund 258 first year students;
· R 4 million for the Dipaleseng Special Bursary Scheme;
· R 4.6 million for 67 first year bursaries to fulfill the commitment I made in honor of former President Nelson Mandela in Giyani; and
· R 11.5 million to support 245 first year students pursuing studies in Chartered Accountancy at the University of Fort Hare.
Information on the NSFAS and Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme can be obtained from the call centre on 0800 872 222, the Career Advice website at www.careerhelp.org.za and the websites www.funzalushaka.doe.gov.za and www.nsfas.co.za
Skills Development Learning Programmes
For learners who wish to enter the world of work, we advise that they consider the options of learnerships, apprenticeships and other skills programmes based on various NQF Registered Qualifications. These are funded via the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA).A learnership consists of a structured learning component and includes practical work experience of a specified nature and duration. An apprenticeship is similar to a learnership in that learners are required to obtain a relevant N2 certificate at a public FET College before undertaking the trade test at the end of an apprenticeship.
Further information on these options can be obtained from the call centre on 0800 872 222 or the Career Advice Helpline on 0860 111 673.
Adult Education Centres
Participation in programmes at adult education centres is free and is available for young people and adults who have not completed their schooling. A General Education and Training Certificate (ABET Level 4) or a Grade 12 certificate can be undertaken at such a centre.
Career Advice Services
For learners who are unsure of which path to follow for their required interests and needs, advice may be obtained via the career advice services at FET Colleges, the career advice website at www.careerhelp.org.za or from the NQF and Career Advice Helpline on 0860 111 673. The helpline can also be contacted via sms on 072 2045 056 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Post-School Options Information Pack is available on the website, www.careerhelp.org.za, or may be emailed to callers who request the pack from the helpline (0860 111 673 or sms 072 2045 056 or email on email@example.com)