Free State goes the extra mile to support learners

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
More Matshediso

Pretoria - The Free State Provincial Government will this year establish Education Development Committees in every town for the benefit of learners.

This was announced by Premier Ace Magashule in his State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Tuesday, in Vrede.

He said the committees will create community hubs where unemployed university graduates, retired teachers and principals will all participate in education programmes, and programmes for the well-being of learners.

“This will help to take learners away from the streets and therefore reduce social ills such as drug abuse, sexual abuse, alcohol and substance abuse.

“Learners will be helped with school work, social and life skills and career coaching after school. We will work with our municipalities and partners to ensure that this programme succeeds,” said the Premier.


He said the provincial government has successfully increased the number of bursaries from 139 in 2009 to 8 232 to date.

Premier Magashule said approximately 861 Free State students are pursuing various fields of study in different countries such as Russia, Portugal, India, Germany, Belarus, Turkey, Cuba, and China.

The students are pursuing studies in fields like medicine, agriculture, veterinary science, nuclear science, IT, engineering, photography, pharmacy, Masters in Mining and Water Reticulation, Mechatronics, Robotics, and PhD in Environmental Science.

“Later this year, about 48 students will be going to Turkey for vocational training, and about 29 students will study agriculture in Bulgaria.

“About 150 students will also be going to Madeira in Portugal to study IT, hotel management, agriculture, health sciences and engineering.

“We have reached agreements with some local and international companies to provide experiential training opportunities, internships and learnerships to our students in order to prepare them for industry,” said Premier Magashule.

Radical economic transformation

In order to achieve radical economic transformation, the Premier said government will partner with the private sector to create the relevant skills for industry.

“With the assistance from the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, we will establish centres for training and the development of artisans and apprenticeship...

“We want to have dedicated programmes that will fast track the establishment of a ‘Skills School’. This year, in collaboration with the private sector, we shall establish a Skills Centre based in Maccauvlei, near Sasolburg.

“We will work closely with the Free State Black Business Council and we will ensure that Black Business Chambers are established in each of our municipalities. We will also establish a Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprise (SMME) Forum at provincial level to take the small business initiatives forward.”

Premier Magashule said a Provincial Jobs Summit will be convened, where all stakeholders will discuss matters relating to job losses, and the impact of the challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment on residents. 

Maths and science at school

He said performance of learners in Mathematics and Science remains an area which needs more attention since it contributes significantly to economic growth.

To address this, the provincial government has initiated an intervention programme in 100 primary schools through the support of Mathematics specialists from Madeira. -

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