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Plan to expand and improve South Africa’s Higher Education sector

In a Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training, the South African government Department of Higher Education and Training recently announced its plans to raise university enrolments from the current 900 000 students to 1.5 million by 2030. Also mooted was a target of 4 million students for colleges and other post-school institutions – 6 times more than current numbers. These changes will raise the participation rate in post-school education of 18-24 year olds from the current 16% to 23%.

The Green Paper includes in its agenda:

  • new funding;
  • improvement of access to education and training opportunities;
  • research on financial problems facing many students as well as poor living conditions and student support services;
  • strengthening of institutions to improve education quality;
  • the development of a post-school education and training system that is equitable, accessible and affordable to all sections of the population, with free education and training for the poor;
  • support for previously disadvantaged universities, including asisstance to improve infrastructure and quality of teaching and research;
  • reform of South Africa’s complex regulatory system, by doing away with duplication. and incoherence and inconsistency in the functioning parts of the system;
  • building coherence between basic education and the post-school system and between the post-school system and the labour market;
  • strengthening of collaboration between private and public sectors;
  • expansion of distance education, using appropriate information communication technologies, other technologies and methods;
  • the creation of two new universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga provinces;
  • improvement of throughput rates;
  • addressing concern sbout low participation rate of Africans;
  • addressing concern about decrease of male students;
  • improvement of graduation rates in science, engineering and technology, because it is not meeting economic development objectives;
  • strengthening of scholarship in the humanities;
  • provision of resources and funding to strenthen teaching in universities, without reducing the importance of research;
  • exploration of the possibility of partnerships between public and private institutions;
  • strengthening of African languages as part of formal programmes

 The Department of Higher Education and Training also plans to work with the Department of Science and Technology to ensure increased support for postgraduate study and for senior researchers, as well as a stable funding model for all educational institutions that conduct research. This means improving research capacity as a major focus for universities with a specific focus on meeting the country’s developmental objectives.

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

To read more go to Kim Cloete’s article at Cross Currents on MoneyWeb by Clicking Here!

To read the Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training Click Here!

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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 African Education Faculties flooded by students

The calibre of teachers in schools looks set to drastically improve as scores of South Africa’s top students sign up for the teaching profession, writes Prega Govender on Times Live.

Universities across the country confirmed being flooded with applications from first-year students wanting to study the four-year teaching degree.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s education faculty, increased its admission requirements after receiving almost 14,000 applications for only 650 places

Increased applications for the teaching degree at other South African institutions include:

  • University of Johannesburg: 2690 applications with 965 enrolled;
  • University of the Witwatersrand: 2800 applications with only 420 enrolled;
  • University of Pretoria: 2625 applications with 1333 enrolled;
  • University of Limpopo: more than 1500 applications for 524 places;
  • North West University: 1851 applications at two of its three campuses for 926 places; and
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University: 1452 applications and only 365 admitted.

The University of Cape Town though does not offer the bachelor of education degree, and Stellenbosch University recorded a drop of 64 in its teacher enrolment from 280 last year to 216 this year.

A very encouraging trend according to Bobby Soobrayan, director -general of Basic Education is that pupils with good matric passes are thinking about teaching, which is ideal “as we want good students to go into teaching”.

To read Prega Govender’s original article that were published on Times Live Click Here!