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Blade Nzimande announces immediate priorities for Department of Higher Education and Training

Dr Blade Nzimande, South African Higher Education and Training Minister recently announced some immediate priorities of the Department of Higher Education and Training. Speaking on post-school options for the Matric Class of 2009, he reiterrated that the next few months will see progress to many of the goals that has been set for the Department.

Some immediate priorities that Nzimande highlighted is support for the South African Deputy-president in the establishment of the HRD-SA Council, the strengthening of the National Skills Authority and paying particular attention to issues such as improving access and success rates in universities and colleges, developing the post-school funding system, advancing access to and quality of the College sector, redefining the SETA landscape and addressing efficiency challenges in the National Skills Fund.

He also announced that a higher education summit will be held in April where the challenge of transformation in higher education will be confronted. At the summit the the role of universities in interacting with and strengthening of other sectors of the system, especially colleges, will also be discussed.

Nzimande will also meet with the Chairs of Councils of the 23 South African universities to discuss the Soudien report on racial and other discrimination at higher education institutions.

The South African Government is committed to strengthen the country’s skills and human resource base, and as part of this commitment the Department of Higher Education and Training intend to broaden access to post-school education over time, Nzimande said. He indicated that the shape of the South African post-secondary system is not appropriately balanced between universities and colleges. Whilst access to universities must increase, enrolment in colleges should double in the next five years.  

For Universities, expansion of the system will be preceded by the careful prior development of capacity as part of the Department’s enrolment planning process with the sector: Enrolments must be matched to available resources, physical, human and financial. The average annual growth rate in head count student enrolments between 2005 (the base year for the enrolment planning process) and 2008 was 2.8%, compared to the target rate of 2.0% set in October 2007 by the Ministry of Education. The data available shows that student enrolments surged above these averages between 2007 and 2008. The head count student enrolment total rose from 761 000 in 2007 to 799 000 in 2008; an increase of 38 000 or 5%. The Full-Time Equivalent enrolled total, which is an indicator of the student load carried by the higher education system, rose from 519 000 in 2007 to 540 000 in 2008; an increase of 21 000 or 4%. Enrolments in Science and Technology majors grew at a rate of only 1.1% pa, between 2005 and 2008; compared to the target rate of 2.9% pa. The Department is awaiting the enrolment data for 2009, but understand that a further surge in headcount was experienced in many Universities. Work has begun on the second Cycle of System and Institutional Enrolment Planning.

He emphasized that increase in access, particularly of the poor and the working class, must be accompanied by increases in graduation rates, and success rates at all levels of study. Success is related to institutional investment in improving teaching and learning, and in student support and the social and living conditions of students.

To read Dr Blade Nzimande’s full speech Click Here!

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4 Responses

  1. Sawubona Dr Nzimande I would like to comment about the nsfas loan interest.Basically the loan that I get to pursue my studies really helped me the problem is the unemployment after completed the diploma,then I fail to repay the nsfas loan which was R6000 on 2007 but now is close to R9000 but I’m still unemployed which means when I get employed it will be more than this amount because I do not know when I am going to get job it will increase with how much. Thandokazi Mdubeki Durban

  2. dear Dr Nzimande

    I am young boy of seventeen years of age and am currently enrolling my bachelors degree in community development; and my mision is to accomblish this goal and become a major assert at my community in Imbuzini,Nkomazi region; BUT due to my poor financial background the unirversity has confirmed not to register myself next unles i get to pay my 2010 tuition fees and yet my granny`s pension cannot afford paying the R35000 when both combined with that of school resident, i had tried appliying from NSFAS but it didn

  3. dear Dr Nzimande

    with a humble heart and honor can you be my sponsor,i had tried NSFAS but i had failed for we were many who had applied for it.am currently doing my first year bachelor`s degree in community development in UKZN (Haward).my goal is to be an asset in developing my community (IMBUZINI)NKOMAZI district.my poor financial backgroung is serving as a hindrance to my goal as the unirversity will not re-register me next year unles i clear my 2010 tuition fees. thamie DURBAN

  4. Dr Nzimande, I would like your intervention as a South African young female student who is unable to pay my outstanding tuition fees, my mother is unemployed I don’t have a FATHER I was doing my Bcom Accounting at University of Johannesburg, last year I couldn’t register nor pay the outstanding fees. This year, I tried to register but I was turned down due to outstanding fees, My mother could raise registration fees and what do I do as COJ is going to offer me a busary to do my third year. The SAD part is the Institution has blocked my name and handed me to lawyers, the question is How do I afford lawyers when I can’t finish my course? Please assist me DR Nzimande, I wish I could speak direct to you.

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