Government wants more young people to attain skills and competencies that will help them find jobs or create their own enterprises.
Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Buti Manamela on Friday said there was an incorrect perception in society that one would only consider a Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college if one did not get into a university.
He said this did not correlate with the reality that the country faces.
TVET colleges are a high priority for government because they can play a critical role in addressing the current skills gaps in the country.
“The data and analysis tells us that we need more technical skills, we need more artisans, and we need more people with practical technical experience. Stronger TVET colleges will expand the provision of mid-level technical and occupational qualifications that will lead directly into paid work for the growing numbers of young people leaving the schooling system. It is for this reason that government is investing intensely in TVET colleges,” Manamela said.
The Deputy Minister was speaking at a graduation ceremony at Coastal College in KwaZulu-Natal.
Additional funds for travel, accommodation
He announced that an additional R2.5 billion will be made available for TVET college’s student fees, travel and accommodation allowances.
Manamela said the additional funding will assist with taking the programme funding level of TVET colleges from the current 54% to 69% in 2018/19 with the target of 80% being reached in approximately four years.
“For 2018/19, an additional R2.5 billion will be made available for student fees including travel and accommodation allowances. This additional funding will ensure that qualifying TVET students will be fully subsidised for student fees and travel or accommodation where relevant,” Manamela said.
This follows government’s announcement in December 2017 on fully-subsidised, fee free higher education and training for the poor and working classes.
The National Treasury has increased the bursary allocation for TVET colleges from R2.437 billion in 2017 to R5.164 billion in 2018. This represents a 112% increase in the allocation.
As government significantly invests in the TVET sector, Manamela said it is also working towards better quality TVET programmes and strengthening college performance.
“We want to see more stable, functional, better governed TVET colleges that offer high quality programmes,” he said.
Working towards effective enrolment
The department is working towards improving the qualifications offerings and a more effective enrolment planning system.
“We will grow new qualifications over time and streamline examinations and certification. We are improving college governance and management.
“We are further developing our lecturers and ensuring that there is a better lecturer to student ratio and we are realising higher retention, throughput and exit level outcomes. So, TVET colleges are our future,” the Deputy Minister said.