South African Government reveals that substantial improvement has been made to remodel the country’s adult education system with recent data exhibiting enrollment figures reaching 233 000 this past year.
Collins Chabange, the Minister in the Presidency in charge of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, expresses in the The Mid Term Review report the fact that the Department of Higher Education and Training had improved access to higher education programmes by way of increasing spaces and available options at FET colleges and universities.
The report reviews and offers feedback to government with reference to the commitments government undertook at the outset of the last electoral term. Part of the report states that “This is an important milestone for increasing the employability of those without matric,”. The report was published at the same time as the green paper on higher education on higher education was released by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande which forecasts in excess of 4.5 million students a year signing up at universities, colleges and other post-school institutions throughout the country by 2030.
The shift is an important part of the department’s endeavor to shift student focus from conventional institutions including universities to Further Education and Training (FET) colleges. The Mid Term Review report illustrates specific information and facts of the successful efforts over the past year by government to develop a high-quality FET program to offer adult learners the opportunity to obtain the essential skills which could assist them to partake in the country’s economic growth.
It discloses that a total of 30 117 out of work students entered into learnerships against a target of 17 531 for 2011. The objective for workers getting into learnerships was surpassed, with 19 192 workers entering learnerships against the target of 13 243. In excess of 11 000 learners joined the artisan training system with 8 102 being successful in their trade tests and acquiring their trade certificates. The pass rate for the trade test improved from 41% in 2010 to 57% in 2011.
The report emphasizes the creation of the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) system in 2011 furthermore marked an important milestone in establishing alternative strategies for skills development.
It contributed to the creation of options available for 164 713 additional learners at FET colleges. This was coupled with a variety of activities to boost the caliber of service offered by FET colleges, including an evaluation of curricula, syndication of learner and teaching support materials in addition to training of lecturers.
“During the remainder of the term, there is a need for the department to evaluate whether these activities have been effective and whether the FET pass rate meets the 2011 target of 43% for level 4, as opposed to the 39% achieved in 2010. It is also important for DHET to evaluate the quality of the FET qualification and its demand in the workplace. To reduce the non-completion of qualifications and to increase the pass rate, concerted efforts are needed to support underprepared learners in language, mathematics and science,”.
Having said that, it had not been identified whether or not the industry is able to absorb the elevated numbers of students graduating from FET colleges.
Government bodies are pinning their hopes on the National Skills Accord involving government, business and labour accompanied by a commitment from the private sector and business to absorb FET graduates.
To make sure that graduates obtain the required skills essential to business, the government will have to intensify its initiatives to boost the quality of service furnished by the FET colleges.
This will include things like enhancing the technical and pedagogical qualifications of lecturers, raising prerequisites for practical experience for lecturers, in addition to making improvements to the governance and management of FET colleges.
Without these kinds of expansion plans, it would appear that the FET sector will continue to be hindered by the quality of its product.