The Department of Higher Education and Training intends to boost the volume of student enrollments in colleges and post- school institutions to 4 000 000 by 2030, Minister Blade Nzimande revealed.
The shift is a component of the Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training unveiled last Thursday by the minister. The Green Paper is designed to revitalise the higher education system in the country in addition to aligning it with South Africa’s general development agenda.
“We aim for 4 000 000 enrollments (approximately a 60% participation rate) in colleges or other post-school institutions (both full time and part time), an approximately six-fold increase over the numbers in 2011,” he said.
Nzimande pointed out that somewhere around 3 000 000 young adults between 18 and 24 have not been accommodated in either the education and training system or labour market. This, he was quoted saying, prohibited the majority of them from getting involved in shaping a democratic South Africa as well informed citizens.
The minister mentioned that by 2030 this ought to change, with South Africa having a post-school system that can offer a variety of readily available choices for young people.
The post- school institutions will comprise of a brand new institutional type – Community Education and Training Centres – to deal with the requirements of out-of-school youth and adults.
“We propose to absorb and transform the existing public adult learning centres into this category of institution and believe that they will serve to strengthen significantly the provision of education and training to adults,” said Nzimande.
He added the fact that the crucial area of focus for development stands out as the public Further Education and Training (FET) college sector which will undoubtedly play the central role in growing the development of artisanal along with other mid-level skills for the economy.
“Such skills are in extremely short supply and colleges, working together with employers (both public and private), will be our spearhead in tackling this problem,” he said.
As the central element of the strategy of FET colleges would be to enhance the quality of education, the green paper proposes the creation of the South African Institute for Vocational and Continuing Education and Training(SAIVCET) to develop institutional capacity.