The Department of Higher Education and Training is going to be re-opening three former teacher training colleges in the coming year as South Africa pushes to generate an increased number far better teachers, says Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.
Nzimande stated in his department’s budget vote to parliament that government will be opening the former Ndebele College Campus in Mpumalanga for foundation phase teacher education in 2013, and are also planning to open one former teacher training college each in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. Government has set aside R450-million for the 2012/13 to 2013/14 funding cycle to assist in the expansion of university infrastructure capacity for teacher education. Funding continues in the next funding cycle.
Increases in teacher candidates, graduates
Nzimande pointed out the reality that there has been a 15 percent rise in full-time and equivalent enrollments in initial teacher education training programmes, from 35 937 in 2009 to 41 292 in 2010. New teachers graduating has increased from 6 976 in 2009 to 7 973 in 2010, an increase of 14 percent.
The minister also mentioned that specific attention was being paid to the growth and development of Foundation Phase teachers, specifically African language mother-tongue speakers.
Teacher, lecturer development
At the same time, a sum of R499-million has been assigned to the nation’s universities for teaching development grants to assist and improve graduate outputs, along with R194-million for foundation programmes to further improve the success rates of students from disadvantaged educational backgrounds.
Nzimande also stated that in the upcoming financial year, programmes would also be established to support the academic and professional continuing development of lecturers in universities. On top of that, a further R177-million has been allocated to 15 of South Africa’s 23 universities, in particular those universities with low numbers of staff with masters and doctorate degrees, in order to develop the research capabilities of their staff.
A sum of R850-million has been set aside for the period 2012/13 to 2013/14 for universities to construct and refurbish their student residences, the majority being invested in historically black institutions.
The department has been negotiating with both the Public Investment Corporation and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in order to secure additional funding when it comes to student accommodation.
Over the next two years, R3.8-billion has been reserved for universities’ general infrastructure development, of which R1.6-billion has been earmarked specifically for historically disadvantaged institutions.
Pertaining to development on two brand new universities planned for Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, Nzimande pointed out that he hoped to be in a position to announce the seat of learning of each new institution in roughly three months, immediately following full assessments and consultations had been completed.
“I remain committed that the first intake of these two new universities will be at the start of the academic year 2014.”
For more information contact Department of Higher Education and Training directly