Nzimande: On 2014 Post School opportunities

Statement by the Minister of Higher Education and Training,   Dr Blade Nzimande on Opportunities for Matriculants in the Post-School Education and Training System

First and foremost, I wish to congratulate the 2013 Matriculants for the outstanding results announced by the Minister of Basic Education, the Honourable Angie Motshekga earlier this week. The Department of Higher Education and Training welcomes the increase in the public sector matric pass rate from 73.9% to 78.2% which is the highest since the advent of democracy and augurs well for the quality of students entering the Post-School Education and Training (PSET) system.

The increase of 61 950 successful candidates when compared to 377 829 successful candidates in 2012 and 439 779 in 2013 equates to a 16.4% growth compared to the previous year’s 8.5%. The national average annual increase in first-time entering students at higher education institutions from 2010 until 2014 is 4.1%, with first-time entering students making up approximately 25% of the total university student population.

In 2013, 171 755 candidates achieved a Bachelor’s pass, an increase of 35 708 when compared to 2012, with 173 292 achieving a Diploma’s pass, an increase of 20 411 when compared to 2012. This significant increase in successful candidates with predominantly Bachelor and Diploma entrance National Senior Certificates (NSCs) will have implications for the Department in relation to enrolments within higher education institutions.

As the Department, we are aware that this is a very important milestone in the lives of young people and therefore would like to take this opportunity to make them aware of approximately 396 449 opportunities available to them within the PSET system, i.e. 25 Universities, 50 Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges and 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). These opportunities can further be broken down as follows:

–       197 946 new entrant opportunities at Universities

–       23 000 Engineering and Business Studies opportunities at FET Colleges

–       44 000 National Certificate Vocational programme opportunities at FET Colleges

–       10 000 Artisanal opportunities at FET Colleges

–       93 000 Occupationally-directed (apprenticeship or learnership) opportunities in collaboration with FET Colleges, SETAs and employers

–       12 000 Artisanal opportunities within the Retail Auto sector

–       16 503 Learnerships through SETAs

Many of those who have met the entrance requirements at universities will be pursuing their Degrees, Diplomas and Higher Certificates at one of 25 public universities which includes the 2 new recently launched universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga, i.e. Sol Plaatje University and University of Mpumalanga. Teaching at the 2 new universities will commence in existing infrastructure that has been refurbished, while new infrastructure is built to accommodate the increasing numbers of students over the coming years. The number of students at the 2 new universities is expected to increase dramatically over the ten-year development plan with Sol Plaatje University growing to accommodate 7 500 contact students in a variety of programmes on its Kimberley Campus, with 80% of these students accommodated in university residences. The University of Mpumalanga will accommodate 15 000 contact students on its Nelspruit campus with 60% of its students accommodated in residences and 3 000 contact students on its Siyabuswa campus accommodating more than 80% of its students in residences.

The 25 public universities offer a diverse range of degrees, diplomas and higher certificates to prepare the Class of 2013 to take their rightful place in the country’s economy by providing access to approximately 197 946 new entrants in 2014 for those wishing to pursue their studies across all general, technical and professional fields including Business and Management; Science, Engineering, Agriculture and Technology; Humanities, Social Sciences, the Arts and Education. Annexure A provides a breakdown per higher education institution.

Those who have completed Grade 12 with a minimum of a Higher Certificate achievement can consider studying further at an FET College for a National Diploma. For both Engineering and Business Studies there will be 23 000 study opportunities at FET Colleges.

Another option is for those who may wish to study towards an apprenticeship choosing to become an Artisan in the Civil, Mechanical and Electrical career fields. The post-school education and training sector, particularly FET Colleges will avail   10 000 artisanal opportunities.

The National Development Plan requires that by 2030 at least 30 000 qualified artisans are produced per year. Currently the country produces on average 12 000 qualified artisans per year. Matriculants that have an inclination to become an artisan, e.g. a motor mechanic, plumber, electrician, etc. can also register at the National Artisan Development Support Centre (NADSC) in Kwa-Thema by going to their website: http://nadsc.dhet.gov.za, contacting the NADSC Call Centre on 011 736 4400 or by emailing copies of their qualifications to info@eec.hipcc.co.za.

In order to become an artisan, Matriculants must have done Mathematics as a subject and obtained a pass mark of 50% or higher. For those Matriculants that do not have Mathematics but have passed and want to consider a career as an artisan, they can also register at NADSC for a bridging course that the Department is implementing in partnership with the Retail Auto sector, who are looking to take on 12 000 young people as apprentices. This bridging course includes Mathematics, Engineering Science, a technical subject like electronics, life orientation, computer skills and a short course on artisan development legislation.

Out-of-school youth who wish to enter the world of work or need to increase their skills capabilities, can consider the options of learnerships, apprenticeships and skills programmes.

FET Colleges also offer occupationally-directed programmes that are accredited by the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) under the auspices of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations. Among these are programmes that are offered through apprenticeship or learnership agreements between the student, FET College and employers. FET Colleges have based on their agreements with SETAs and employers, set aside 93 000 study opportunities for this mode of delivery.

SETAs will further be providing 16 503 learnerships opportunities. Advertisements were already placed by some SETAs in December 2013 and will continue into    March 2014.  Annexure B provides a breakdown per SETA of these learnership opportunities.

44 000 Study opportunities have also been made available for individuals wanting to pursue a vocational programme which leads to a National Certificate Vocational qualification.

As part of government’s commitment to expanding the post-school education and training opportunities, the Department is building 12 new FET campuses, which in 2014 will be able to further accommodate an additional 6 500 new students.

One of the most successful schemes established by government to assist students from poor disadvantaged families with academic ability is the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) which provides loans and bursaries to students at all 25 public universities and 50 public FET colleges throughout the country. NSFAS will be funding 205 000 students at universities and 215 000 students at FET Colleges in 2014 by providing student loans and bursaries totalling over R8.3 billion.

In addition to the funds that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme received from the voted funds, the National Skills Fund (NSF) makes further annual allocations aimed at funding the full cost of study towards critical skills programmes, most needed for the growth of the economy.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has been allocated over R497 million for the current year from the NSF. This funding is made available through the financial aid offices in the 25 universities and it is preferable that students wishing to make use of these bursaries enrol for critical skills which include science, commerce, health science, engineering, etc.

Initiated in honour of former President Nelson Mandela’s call for 67 minutes of community service on his birthday, 67 awards were initially made on Mandela Day to Grade 12 learners from Qwaqwa in the Free State province. It was reported that the Free State province has emerged as the top-performing province in the announcement of the Class of 2013’s results. Due to this achievement and the volumes of responses received following the recruitment of the 67 leaners, the number of bursaries to be awarded in this region will be increased to 100 bursaries totalling R7 million in 2014.

I was proud to see a blind young man from Prinshof School for blind and partially-sighted learners among the top achievers announced by the Minister of Basic Education on Monday evening. As a department, we are committed to expanding access and success in our institutions for students who have special needs. At our FET Colleges, for example, Government pays 80% of the programme cost of the student’s choice. An additional allocation is then made depending on the type and severity of the disability. In addition to the above, NSFAS has earmarked R69 million for the 2014 academic year to provide financial aid to disabled learners in both FET Colleges and Universities.

The Department in collaboration with SAQA and Department of Basic Education launched the “Apply Now” campaign with the aim of creating awareness of career options and application procedures for post-school education and training. We have reached out to Grade 9 to 12 learners in all of the 6 000 public high schools in the country distributing the “Apply Now” booklet.

This campaign complemented the Khetha radio programmes which ran on 10 SABC African languages radio stations including Afrikaans, social media platforms and career awareness events. The National Career Advice Portal (NCAP) also provided access to career information on career pathways, and where to get access to relevant education and training opportunities.

I have no doubt that the impact of these initiatives and campaigns created awareness of and provided useful information to the Class of 2013 on career options for post-school education and training.

As Minister of Higher Education and Training, I want to take this opportunity to particularly urge those who have not passed their Matric to access all the sources of relevant information that the Department has created specifically for them to choose from a range of options available within the PSET system.

The Department is operating the Central Application Clearing House, referred to as “CACH”, once again in 2014. The CACH Call Centre and website went live on           7 January 2014 when the public school matriculation results were released. The CACH service is for learners who qualify for higher education studies but have not been accepted at an institution of their choice at the time the matric results were released. It is also for those learners who did not apply before the closing dates last year and now find that they are eligible for higher education studies. Learners looking for spaces in the university education system can contact the call centre on 0860 356 635 or send an SMS with their name and ID number to 49200 and be telephoned back free of charge. They can also access the system via the website: http://cach.dhet.gov.za . The CACH service will verify the learner’s information and forward it to institutions that still have unfilled places. Where places exist and applicants meet the requirements, institutions will contact students to offer them available places. The 2014 CACH service is also geared to provide information to assist anyone interested in pursuing further education and training opportunities. Learners will also be offered free career advice and be guided through possible alternate options at FET Colleges.

As the Minister of Higher Education and Training, I am responsible for what is referred to as Outcome 5, the development of a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path where the FET College sector  plays a pivotal role in meeting this objective of government.

Allow me an opportunity to reassure the Class of 2013 and public that the Department is addressing the actions of a handful of individuals who are undermining the integrity of the FET examinations process through the leaking of examination papers and resultant negative perception of FET Colleges being portrayed in the media.

Preliminary findings suggest that where leakages do occur, this is taking place after papers have been delivered to examination centres. Furthermore, the Department in collaboration with the South African Police Services (SAPS) have been able to ascertain that the leakages are not opportunistic, but rather the result of carefully orchestrated planning manipulated by crime syndicates. Parties arrested by SAPS attest to the existence of such syndicates.

The Department is constantly reviewing and improving security and distribution measures in relation to the FET examinations process.  These incidences appear to have been stemmed, although a single incidence of leakage is still one too many. The Department continues to work closely with the National Police Commissioner’s Office to determine the source and extent of the operations of these syndicates. We are unable to disclose the details of these investigations at this stage as they are still under way and could compromise the processes underway.

The Department of Higher Education and Training welcomes the Class of 2013 into the post school education and training system where learning and growth can take place in South African Universities, Comprehensive Universities, Universities of Technology, public Further Education and Training Colleges and Sector Education and Training Authorities.

news@ujuh.co.za

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