An amount of R2.5 billion is planned to be allocated for the refurbishment and building of new campuses of Further Education and Training (FET) colleges over the up coming three years, President Jacob Zuma revealed.
“In keeping with the strategic goals of the National Skills Development Strategy III, which incorporates the growth and strengthening of public [FET] colleges, the National Skills Fund along with SETAs are going to allocate R2.5 billion for the refurbishment and construction of new campuses of FET colleges over the next three years,” Zuma said at his skills development summit with FET college principals.
The summit was actually a platform for FET college principals to interact and deliberate on the central role FETs enjoy within the country’s skills development strategy in particular, government’s new infrastructure development priority programme.
Additional information on the project is going to be made available from Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande as part of his budget vote speech later this month.
Principals from all 50 FET colleges took part in the summit, who manage 264 campuses nationwide, along with the chairpersons of college councils and deputy principals.
Delegates tried to deal with the existing level of skills development and exactly how the country could possibly provide the scarce skills that are essential to make the comprehensive national infrastructure development programme a success.
The meeting was also attended by ministers who happen to be members of the management committee of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission.
Zuma re-iterated that whereas universities and universities of technology were crucial, FET colleges happen to be in the same way important. He called on society to modify their mind-sets to allow FET colleges to turn into institutions of choice for a large number of young adults, to ensure the country could attain the necessary technical skills.
“Universities are necessary in any economy however the illustration of successful industrial economies such as Germany point to the value of vocationally-based training, based on an apprenticeship model. This kind of vocational focus makes it possible for the development of a strong manufacturing base and productive economy,” he stated.
He emphasized the necessity to tackle head-on the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality, adding the fact that education and skills development happen to be the best tools in accomplishing this objective.
A confident Zuma pointed out that the country currently has a good plans in place for significant economic development and job creation.
The New Growth Path framework was launched in 2010 with a framework that sets the creation of decent work opportunities as the central economic goal of government.
Government has revealed the sectors where jobs can be created on a large scale, including:
* infrastructure development
* mining and beneficiation
* agriculture and the processing of farm products
* green economy
* tourism and high level services; and
* the knowledge-based sectors of the economy.
Zuma revealed a significant and bold infrastructure plan for the country’s economy during his Stae of the Nation Address. .
The infrastructure plan encompasses the expansion of ports and rail-lines; modernising the road networks; the construction of dams and irrigation systems, power stations along with renewable energy plants; laying of transmission lines and broadband within the country; in addition to expanding the building of schools, hospitals and universities.
To date, seventeen significant integrated projects have already been finalised and the implementation will now commence. The relevance of FET colleges in the infrastructure development project cannot be overstated.
“The construction, maintenance and operation of infrastructure along with the operation of assets have to have the types of skills that FET colleges are well-equipped to provide… however for FETs to achieve success, they need to be more effective and better-performing, graduation rates will have to rise,” he explained to the principals.