Govt to increase enrolment at FETs to one million

Friday, September 11, 2009

Johannesburg - The Department of Higher Education and Training hopes to increase student enrolment at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges to at least one million by 2015.

This was announced by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande on Friday.

"We also aim to improve quality and capacity of the FET colleges with a particular focus on artisans and other scarce skills, and as primary delivery sites for Adult Education and Training," he said.

However, FETs must become institutions of choice, rather than what students settle for when they do not get admission into universities.

"For universities, our goal is to improve access and success, particularly of poor, African and women students. We want FETs to be colleges of choice - not what students settle for when they cannot get into universities," he said.

Commenting on research funded by the Ford Foundation, which shows that almost three million young South Africans between 18 and 24 years of age are neither in employment, education or training, Nzimande said this means that these people are not working and not learning.

"It cannot be business as usual when such a large number of young people in our country are faced with the prospect of such a bleak future," said the minister.

He said their prospects for young people post-school must be expanded, including education and training opportunities in the universities, colleges and the workplace.

This, Nzimande said, must be done in partnership with higher education institutions, FET colleges and the skills sector and the department, as together they provide a powerful basis for addressing education and training in an integrated way.