Govt concerned at internal efficiency of universities

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cape Town - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says government is concerned about the internal efficiency of universities and the relatively low success and high dropout rates of students.

Speaking at the Human Development cluster briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday, the minister said government was therefore allocating special funds to institutions to help them to improve their success and graduation rates.

She said it was in the interests of national social and economic development to raise the graduate totals.

"All higher education institutions were requested to confirm and provide the necessary data and information for the determination of system wide and institutional specific enrolment and graduate output targets for the period 2011 to 2013," she said, adding that the data was being analysed during this last quarter of 2009.

A report, providing an essential guide for government to assist a greater number of poor but capable students to enter the higher education system and complete their studies, was due to be submitted in December.

This report was compiled by the Ministerial Committee reviewing the efficacy of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The report will be released for public comment before implementation of the recommendations.

The minister said further to this, government was also committed to increasing the number of young people and adults accessing continuing education at technical and vocational centres, in a way that supported an inclusive growth path.

"In order to achieve this, government has invested R1.9 billion over the last three years in the Further Education and Training (FET) College subsystem, and we are now taking steps to enhance access to these institutions and the quality of courses they provide," she said.

Motshekga said that the department would consolidate the institutional base for FET colleges in partnership with the skills development system and improve responsiveness to the needs of the economy.

Also, programme offerings will be expanded, training partnerships with industry will be funded through SETAs, partnerships with employers will be established and a work-placement programme for graduates of FET colleges will be set up.

The minister added that government had intensified efforts in order to deliver an improved higher education and training system which provided a diverse range of learning opportunities for youth and adults.