Nzimande maps way forward for FETs

Friday, September 3, 2010

Johannesburg - The curriculum at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges need to change in order to contribute to the country's new economic path.

This is according to Higher Education and Training Minister, Blade Nzimande.

Speaking at a two-day summit on FET Colleges on Friday, the minister said increasing the placement of college graduates in the work place will go a long way in relieving unemployment numbers.

He said programmes at these institutions must provide relevant and accessible education and training opportunities of young people and adults. "These livelihoods programmes could supplement and work in continuum with the work development programmes for the otherwise marginalized youth," he said.

Nzimande highlighted that they must also include mathematics and science foundation programmes into the FET system.

"Government has set out a broad goal to develop the economy in a way that responds to the needs of all South Africans, especially the poor, and to achieve this there is an urgent need to contribute to a new economic growth path for our country, in which FET colleges are well positioned to contribute to the acute mid-level skills crisis that exists in South Africa."

Data indicates that of the 2.8 million South Africans between the ages 18 and 24 (in 2007) not in employment, education or training, two million (about 71 percent) had not achieved Grade 12. Of these about 18 percent had not even progressed beyond primary level.

The FET Summit is looking at how they map a way forward for FETs which are characterised by low pass rates, poor planning and financial mismanagement.

FETs carry about 220 000 students in the public colleges and under 100 000 in private colleges, while the department has set a target of one-million students being enrolled in colleges by 2014.

The outcomes of the summit will ultimately inform a Green Paper, which will survey the post-school education and training landscape and set out the policy and legislative changes needed to support strategic objectives.