Former teacher training colleges to be re-opened

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pretoria - In a bid to produce more teachers in the country, the Higher Education and Training Department is planning to open three former teacher training colleges next year.

"We will open the former Ndebele College Campus in Mpumalanga for foundation phase teacher education in 2013, we also plan to open one former teacher training college each in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Eastern Cape," said Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, presenting the department's budget vote on Tuesday

"We have ring-fenced R450 million for the 2012/13 to 2013/14 funding cycle to expand university infrastructure capacity for teacher education and this will continue in the next funding cycle."

He also noted a significant growth in full-time equivalent enrolments in initial teacher education programmes from 35 937 in 2009 to 41 292 in 2010, a 15 percent increase.

"The number of new teachers that graduated increased from 6 976 in 2009 to 7 973 in 2010, an increase of just under 1 000, or 14 percent," he said adding that particular attention is being paid to the development of Foundation Phase teachers, especially African language mother-tongue speakers.

Meanwhile, an amount of R499 million has been allocated to all universities for teaching development grants to assist in improving graduate outputs and R194 million for foundation programmes to improve the success rates of students from disadvantaged educational backgrounds.

Nzimande announced that in the coming financial year, programmes will also be initiated to support the academic and professional development of lecturers in universities.

In addition, R177 million for research development has been allocated to 15 of the 23 universities to develop research capability of university staff, especially for those institutions with low numbers of staff with Masters and Doctorate degrees.

An amount of R850 million has been earmarked for the period 2012/13 to 2013/14 for universities to build and refurbish student residences, with the bulk of it being allocated to historically black institutions.

The department has been engaging with the Public Investment Corporation and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to provide more substantial funding for student accommodation.

Over the next two years, R3.8 billion has been earmarked for universities' overall infrastructure development, prioritising historically disadvantaged institutions. Of the R3.8 billion infrastructure allocation, an amount of R1.6 billion has been set aside specifically for historically disadvantaged institutions.

Giving an update on the progress in the building of two new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, Nzimande said he planned to announce the seat of learning of each new institution in approximately 3 months, once a full assessment had been done and after consulting with the relevant stakeholders.

"I remain committed that the first intake of these two new universities will be at the start of the academic year 2014."