24 October 2011
“Minister Nzimande wishes the Matric Class of 2011 well for their Examinations
Today marks the start of the examinations period for the Grade 12 class of 2011. Minister Nzimande takes this opportunity to wish all our learners who are sitting for this final examination of their schooling career everything of the best. This is a culmination of 12 years of schooling, and a period that usually determines whether one goes on to be a productive citizen, who participates actively in the economy, or remains trapped in a life of poverty. Accordingly, the Minister hopes that our learners will remain focused, motivated and continue working hard, to ensure that they achieve the best that they can, and open further opportunities for themselves in life.
As the department of Higher Education and Training, we would like the learners to know that there are various opportunities that are available to them as they leave the schooling system. These include learnerships, artisan training and internships, FET colleges which offer both NC(V), as well as Nated courses, and universities offering a range of courses in fields such as business management, engineering, commerce, health and social sciences etc. There is also financial assistance available for students from poor families, in the form of the National Financial Student Aid Scheme (NSFAS). For detailed information on these opportunities, please see the document attached as Appendix A.
The Minister also wishes all our students currently registered in our colleges and universities everything of the best with their own examinations, and we are confident that with hard work and determination, the sky is the limit.
For more information, learners are advised to call the Department’s toll free call centre on 0800 872 222, or visit our website www.dhet.gov.za.
1. Learnerships, Artisan and Internships
For learners who wish to enter the world of work or need to increase their skills capabilities, they can consider the options of learnerships, apprenticeships and skills programmes based on NQF Registered Qualifications, funded via the SETAs as per the demand identified by employers in the various sectors of our economy. The learnerships (sic) (should read Internships?) consists of a structured learning component, include practical work experience of a specified nature and duration.
2. Vocational and Continuing Education and Training
Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges are institutions of choice for the learners who wish to follow a vocational career path. In order to grow economically, South Africa relies on, and is need of skills that can be attained from the FET colleges. There are 50 FET College all over the country and they have 264 campuses that are strategically placed in all Provinces and most cities, towns and rural areas. FET colleges offer a range of programmes that cater for most students’ needs and interest.
The following options are available at FET Colleges for learners leaving at Grade 12:
- For those who have completed a Grade 12 Certificate with a minimum of a Higher Certificate achievement can consider studying further at a FET College for a National NDiploma. It is available in a range programmes such as Engineering, Business Studies, Art, Music and Food Services. To complete the qualification, the student must complete a further 18 months of work placement. There are approximately 40 000 places available at FET Colleges linked to bursaries for those who are financially in need.
- Another option is for those who may wish to study towards an apprenticeship to become an Artisan. There are approximately 6000 places for those who wish to enrol for this as a career. These are in the Civil, Mechanical and Electrical career fields. After the completion of minimum of an N2 (with 4 relevant subjects), successful candidates can apply to SETAs and Employers for possible selection into an apprenticeship. A further career path, after completing N3, could be to continue studies in N4. Bursaries are available for financially needy students who wish to attend these courses.
- Students who are enrolling for either the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) or the Report 191 Programmes, commonly known as NATED programmes, will be able to apply for bursaries at the college where they wish to study. R1,7 billion is available for the 2012 college bursaries and is aimed at providing access to quality education and training at colleges for all students who are financially needy and therefore cannot afford to pay for their studies.
The DHET FET Colleges Bursary Scheme is administered and managed by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) on behalf of the Department. Students should be aware that the bursary, which is not a loan and therefore does not require the student to pay it back at the end of his/her studies, will cover tuition and, where necessary, travel and accommodation costs for eligible students. In this way, the Department is certain that qualifying students are not only able to access education and training opportunities in the FET sector, but should also enable more students to be able to direct unfettered attention to their studies.
3. University Education
Universities will provide access to approximately 180,000 new entrants in 2012. This accounts for 20 percent of the expected enrolments at universities in 2012 and shows a steady increase in opportunities available since 2010. Approximately 30.2% (54,297) places will be available in business and management fields, 28.7% (51,601) in science, engineering and technology fields, 25.7% (46,207) in humanities, and 15.4% (27,688) in the field of education. This would therefore provide the necessary access into specific scarce skills areas which have been identified as critical areas for further study namely engineering sciences, animal and human health sciences, natural and physical sciences, and teacher education.
The NSFAS offers loans and bursaries for students enrolled in first undergraduate degrees and provide eligible students with the means to obtain a tertiary qualification. My Department has set aside an NSFAS allocation of approximately R2,6 million for University Loans for 2012 which is approximately 50 percent of the total NSFAS allocation. In addition to this, final year students who qualify for NSFAS funding are reminded that they could have their total loan for the final year converted into a 100 % bursary if they complete their studies in the same year.
In doing so, students move more efficiently through the system, and free up space within the system for additional students. I also want to wish all final year students studying with a NSFAS bursary all success in their final exams and want to remind them that I have allocated approximately R733 million towards their successful completion of this final year and that it will be converted to a 100% bursary if they pass.