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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

New Colleges, 4IR High On Higher Education Department’s Agenda

Riyaz Patel

The Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology plans to have a post school training institution in every district municipality over the next ten years.

Delivering his policy vote address in the NCOP, minister Blade Nzimande said this will open and broaden access to children of the poor and working class to have a better chance than their parents to break the cycle of poverty and deprivation.

He added that nine new TVET college sector campus sites are under construction and scheduled for completion in 2020.

They include Sterkspruit, Aliwal North, Graaff Reneit, Ngungqushe, Umzimkhulu, Greytown, Msinga, Nongoma and Kwagqikazi.

Contracts will be awarded for a further four campus sites in Balfour, Giyani, Nkandla B and Vryheid for 2019/20.

Image result for TVET COLLEGES CONSTRUCTION

Construction will commence with a new campus site for Mitchells Plain in 2020.

Nzimande said his department has allocated R1 billion (2018/19 to 2021/2022) to roll out a College Infrastructure Efficiency Grant for maintenance at all 50 TVET Colleges.

He added that over R11 billion will be invested in infrastructure projects across South Africa’s 26 universities (2018/19 to 2020/21).

The minister also announced a Ministerial Task Team on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The team will “provide critical policy advice and interventions required to align and effectively participate and innovate for this revolution,” he said.

The outputs from the Ministerial Task Team will work closely with the Presidential Commission on the 4IR and Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the 4IR.

Nzimande said the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology are developing a Skills Master Plan in response to the known skills demands associated with the 4IR.

This plan, he added, will be complemented by a national list of Occupations in High Demand and the Critical Skills List to inform career development services, resource allocation and enrolment planning.

Nzimande said his department also plans to “implement a new SETA landscape to further respond to the skill demands of our economy.”

“We will ensure that we strengthen, realign and repurpose SETAs so that they respond to the skills needs of our economy,” the minister said.

But, Nzimande emphasized, artisan skills development remains a top priority for his department whilst rapidly expand workplace-based learning through learnerships, work integrated learning and internships.

“We will further heighten our collaboration with relevant industries in provinces to ensure that our institutions respond to the skills requirements of provinces and municipalities,” he said.

Nzimande said there are plans to recruit a minimum of 100 new academics per year through the New Generation of Academics programme (nGAP).

Some 80% of these new recruits will be blacks and women South Africans under the age of 45.

There are also plans to increase the total headcount enrolment in higher education, in public and private institutions, to 1.62 million by 2030.

He also reaffirmed his department’s commitment to continue offering bursaries through NSFAS to support students from families earning a gross annual income of up to R350 000 per annum at universities and TVET colleges.

“The substantial investment in poor and working-class students over the 2019 MTEF, amounts to R82 billion for University students and R20.4 billion for TVET College students,” Nzimande said.

The minister said a huge chunk of the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology’s budget, 82%, goes to University Education.

This is mainly as a result of the subsidy payment to universities through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

“As we work towards the revision of the TVET and CET College landscape, this current budgetary allocation of resources will change and align to the repositioning of these important sectors,” Nzimande said.

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