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South African Higher Education and Training Budget

The Minister of Higher Education and Training , Blade Nzimande recently presented the department’s budget vote in parliament.

He announced that  the Department of Higher Education and Training have ring-fenced R450 million for the 2012/13 to 2013/14 funding cycle to expand university infrastructure capacity for teacher education and plan to continue with this in the next funding cycle.

Mr Nzimande also noted a significant increase in full-time equivalent enrolments in initial teacher education progarmmes from 35 937 in 2009 to 41 292 in 20 120, a 15 % increase.The number of new teachers that graduated showed an increase from 6 976 in 2009 to 7 973 in 2010, an increase of 14%. He added that specific attention is given to the development of Foundation Phase teachers, and especially African language mother-tongue speakers.

He also announced that R499 million has been allocated to all universities for teaching development grants to assist in improving graduate outputs and R194 million for foundation programmes to improve the success rates of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Programmes will also be initiated this year to support the academic and professional development of lecturers at universities.

An additional amount of R177 million has been allocated for research development at 15 of the 23 universities to develop research capability of university staff.

R850 miiion has been set aside for the period 2012/13 to 2013/14 for universities to build and refurbish student residences. with the majority being allocated to historically black institutions.

Over the next two year, R3,8 billion has been allocated for universities’ overall infrastructure development of which R1,6 billion has been set aside specifically for the historically disadvantaged universities.

The information for this article was obtained from an article compiled by the Government Communication and Information System, and can be obtained from 7th Space by Clicking Here!   

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R15 billion set aside for Further Education and Training Colleges

South African Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has set aside R15-billion to increase the number of students attending South Africa’s Further Education and Training Colleges. This is part of a plan to improve the quality of education at FET colleges so that they become the tertiary institutions of choice. The plan also includes an agreement with retired accountants to step in as CFOs at these institutions.

Nzimande wants the  FET student population to grow from the current 400 000 to 4 million by 2030.

To read more go to the article on East Coast Radio Newswatch by Clicking Here!

South Africa plans to open 2 new universities

Mr Blade Nzimande, South African Minister of Higher Education and Training, recently announced that two new universities are expected to open in South Africa, one in the Mpumalanga province and the other in the Northern Cape Province. Two task teams investigated the appropriate models for these new universities and recommended possible sites to be seats of these universities. Mr Nzimande will announce the seat of learning of each new institution in three months time. The government plans to have the first intake of these tow new universities at the start of 2014.

To read more go to Sapa’s article at Sowetan Live by Clicking Here! 

Centralised admissions to SA universities on the cards

South African Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, yesterday announced that his department is planning a central application system for universities across South Africa. He said, they are considering discontinuing walk-ins at registration time at universities, and aim to have a centralised application office in place by 2013. The applications office will handle all higher education applications in one office and will carry one application fee.

Minister Nzimande’s announcement came shortly after a tragic incident where the mother of a prospective student was killed at the University of Johannesburg, during a stampede at the entrance to the university.

To read more go to Mvuzo Ponono’s and Tebogo Monama’s article in the Sowetan, by Clicking Here!

Access to Education in South Africa has improved – Nzimande

Access to education has improved over the past 17 years, Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande said recently in parliament.

“Approximately 96 percent of children now gain access to school in South Africa,” Nzimande said during debate in the National Assembly on President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address.

Nzimande said that in 2009 the gross enrolment ratio for Grades 1 to 12 stood at 92 percent. In higher education the total enrolments was nearing 90,000, which means the throughput rate has been improving, although it still has a long way to go.

The biggest challenge identified by the Department of Basic Education [DBE] according to Nzimande is the improvement of the quality of education, while nearly all of the Department of Basic Education’s current interventions are aimed at achieving this.

Dr Nzimande cited the improvement of learning outcomes in Maths, Science and Literacy as the biggest priority of the department, which is in line with Zuma’s directive on the three Ts –teachers, text and time.

The “improved” 2010 matric results proved that the schooling system was on a much better footing, he said.

Minister Nzimande then focussed on Higher Education and said the Department of Higher Education and Training had made “significant strides” in the past year in the field of higher education and training to tackle the challenge of creating a post school system that was responsive to the needs of youths and adults.

The adoption of the National Skills Development Strategy had been the anchor of government’s intervention on the skills development front, according to him.

Nzimande emphasized that South African universities needed to be nurtured, and must continue to provide high quality teaching, research, innovation and community service activities and to progressively improve their capacities.

“But”, Nzimande said, “we are working to ensure that these universities become more accessible and place student interests at the centre of their activities.”

Assistance would be given to institutions that need special attention, like those in rural areas, to help them build capacity to provide quality education. Task teams are also working hard to prepare for the establishment of universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.

To read the original Sapa article on NewsTime Click Here!

South Africa’s new National Skills Development Strategy

South Africa’s Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande recently unveiled the country’s third National Skills Development Strategy, a strategy for the next 5 years. It will be implemented through South Africa’s skills development structures (21 sector education and training authorities, SETAs) in the coming months, but universities will have important roles to play.

The aim of the National Skills Development Strategy III, NSDS3 is:

• To improve the skills development system so as to be more responsive to labour market needs and social equity requirements.
• To integrate workplace training and theoretical learning
• To improve the skills level of graduates of secondary and tertiary education
• To address skills shortages in artisanal, technical and professional fields
• To reduce the over-emphasis on NQF level 1-3 learnerships
• To equip those in the workforce with sufficient technological skills
• To improve co-operation between universities, further education and training colleges and sector education and training authorities (SETA)
• To support economic growth and development through viable skills development
• To develop sufficient skills for rural development

The NSDS3 will be formally deployed on April 1.

To read more go to Munyaradzi Makoni’s article on University World News by Clicking Here!

To read Dr Blade Nzimande’s press release Click Here!

To download the National Skills Development Strategy III (NSDS3) Document Click Here!

Compulsory community service for all South African graduates?

The South African government is looking at the possibility of introducing compulsory community service for all university graduates, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande recently said at the ANC’s national general council (NGC) in Durban.

The reasoning behind this imperative arises from the current compulsory community service performed by medical doctors after completing their degrees.” Why only do this for doctors”, he said.

Nzimande also emphasized other imperatives as well. He suggested a whole range of roles that young graduates can play, for example  accountants, engineers etc who can be used by rural (and) local government.

Community service can also help youg graduates acquire the necessary skills and work experience.

A lot of unemployed graduates are unable to find work, and this will give them opportunity. Then there is also the aspect of graduates giving something back to the country.

To read more go to Stuart Graham’s article on News 24 by Clicking Here!