An increasing demand for training and vocational education over the past years dictates that more investment should be diverted to the sector, Higher Education deputy minister, Buti Manamela said on Monday.
Manamela was visiting the Capricorn TVET college application centre at the Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba stadium where hundreds of students lined up for registration. He said the number of students considering TVET colleges had increased over the past four years and this was a call for attention.
“We are very excited that there is a huge demand for the TVET education,” said Manamela.
“This means that as government we need to invest more in expanding the sector,” he said.
Registration at the centre resumed on Monday morning after a stampede resulted in a suspension of the process. Six were injured and rushed to nearby hospitals, while two others were hit by a vehicle outside the campus. According to interviews by the SABC, some prospective students started queuing on Saturday afternoon, vying for space at the institution which already indicated that it could only cater for 1200. Some also slept at the local sports facilities.
Manamela said TVET colleges statistics had increased from 350,000 to at least 750,000 over the past four years.
“This shows that more people are responding to TVET colleges, therefore we need to respond to that,” he said.
However, Manamela did not reveal how the government would respond the system demands.
Manamela acknowledged that the free education announcement contributed to the increased number of students applying to higher education institutions.
In December last year, President Jacob Zuma announced that education would be free for students whose families had an income of less than R350,000.
The move encouraged aspiring professionals to join queues at various colleges.
Thuso Sekgobela,25, from Bolobedu was among top five applicants who submitted applications at the stadium on Monday.
She joined the queue around 1:20 am.
She said she was quick to complete the form and submit her application, and was optimistic she will be admitted.
Sekgobela said the process on Monday was better than last week.
According to Capricorn TVET management, successful applicants will be informed of their acceptance within two days.