zimande's menu of tertiary opportunities

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Johannesburg - While access to universities must increase, enrolment in colleges should double in the next five years, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said on Wednesday.

"Our immediate challenge as we begin this year is to present a menu of opportunities to the class of 2009...

"It is very important and that remains our commitment to double the intake at colleges considering the demand of higher education," Nzimande said.

He was addressing reporters on the opportunities available to learners entering higher education institutions, including options available to learners who may have not achieved a university entry.

Less than 20 percent of the 2009 school leavers qualified for university admission. Of the 552 073 learners who wrote matric last year, 334 718 passed with only 109 697 qualifying for an entry to a Bachelor's Degree.

Nzimande said while this was concerning, government will be introducing measures to increase the capacity of colleges and Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs) to ensure that the learners are exposed to various options whether they have passed Grade 12 or not.

"We congratulate all the learners who have passed and encourage those who have not performed well not to lose heart or hope as learning is a life-long experience," Nzimande said.

He said government would be placing more than 35 000 learners into various SETAs learnership programmes during the course of the year while a further 2 500 learners will receive opportunities for skills that will empower them to create their own ventures.

Around R500 million has been set aside through the National Skills Fund for a special project to roll out learning programmes targeting those matrics not meeting university entry requirements.

Nzimande said in addition, about 13 200 vocational training graduates will also be placed in the workplace by the Setas this year.